The L.A. Complex, episode 2: WTF dude makeout!?! edition
Let’s face it, guys: episode two of The L.A. Complex is all about prostitution. In a city of whores and actors, everyone has their price. For Abby, that translates to no sex in the champagne room (Chris Rock was right!) and an audition for a guest spot as an actual prostitute. (Her go-see outfit of fishnets, a bra and an unzipped American Apparel hoodie as outerwear was a nice touch.) For Raquel, it means getting her booty call rejected by Connor and losing the part to Abby. (Jewel Staite’s delivery of the line “But I’m dressed like a hooker!” is perfect, desperate deadpan.) And for Tariq—well, let’s just say we’re not in La Belle Province anymore.
The serious WTF twist in tonight’s episode came when Tariq, the struggling hip hop producer, was offered the chance to produce a track for Kaldrick King, a menacing ex-con rapper. Kaldrick whiplashes between curiosity about Tariq’s Quebecois upbringing (“You gotta teach me more of this French!”) and punching out fans who just want to Instagram him eating a taquito, and he and Tariq seemed to have a genuine connection based on a mutual understanding of soul LPs and distant fathers. The episode eventually amps up to the most climactic, weirdly hot guy-on-guy make out we’ve seen—at least on MuchMusic. The scene was played with such intense antagonism that neither we, nor anyone on Twitter, ever saw it coming. Could it be a watershed moment for the new series?
For all its soapy fluff, The L.A. Complex gets dark fast, particularly whenever Raquel glowers like a black cloud of aging actress metastasis. We’ll take our hope where we can find it: from the surprisingly sweet PG-13 romance between Alicia and Corey Feldman–esque former teen star Ricky Lloyd, who meet at the strip club and actually seem like kindred spirits. Maybe you can’t have sex in the champagne room, but you can find love.
The L.A. Complex is a veritable Frankensoap, mining the backlogs of other primetime dramas for inspiration. Here, our weekly look at what they stole and from whom:
• We’re reaching here, but you couldn’t have Kaldrick King’s black gay gangster without The Wire’s Omar Little.
• Connor’s show-within-a-show turns out to be an over-earnest medical drama about exhausted interns who just want to bone between CT scans. Add a Tegan and Sara song and you’ve got Grey’s Anatomy.
• Raquel and Abby’s rivalry has so many layers that it’s hard to keep track. Here’s what we’ve decided so far: Abby is obviously Raquel’s black swan, whose over-eager ingénue act is only going to crush her career in the end (All About Eve).
• Aspiring music producer Tariq is 90210’s David Silver for the 21st century, although sadly without the silver chains, hoop earrings and geometric-print blouses.