Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kyle, How Do I Love Thee?

As an admitted unregenerate television addict, it will surprise none of you to learn that I am besotted with the ABC Family program Kyle XY and therefore somewhat glum that in a few weeks, the show will be ending forever. But only somewhat glum, because I'd rather have something as beautiful and unique as Kyle XY leave me wanting more than get stale and fizzle out.

*imagine the movie ad announcer voice*
In a world where nothing is original anymore, one character stands alone. And he has no bellybutton.

The idea of an advanced and unique human isn't new. Pick your comic book hero. However, the beauty of the story of Kyle is in the character of Kyle himself. Hyper-intelligent and possessed of certain special abilities due to being a genetically modified clone grown in a pod, Kyle is also guileless, innocent, free from ego or ambition beyond the simple desire to help people. The typical American family who takes the boy with no bellybutton in provides both safe haven from the scads of various nefarious people and agencies anxious to get ahold of Kyle in order to exploit him and an important contrast between the complicated interplay of logic and emotion that governs the average parent-teenager relationship and Kyle's straightforward, completely honest approach to the world around him.

Kyle XY has taken advantage of the blogging community, spinning the story of Kyle with help from the people who adore the show. Intended to be a single-season space-filler, Kyle XY caught on so fast and so completely that the show's writers scrambled around to come up with a story arc for a theoretical Season Two, eventually cadging some plot details and other ideas off the ABC Family web forum. And while the creators of the show Smallville had plenty of time to slowly transform their flannel-shirt-sporting, power-developing Clark Kent into the Superman we all know and love because Tom Welling was already in his mid-20's when the show started, 18-year-old actor Matt Dallas went through a growth spurt and heavy hit of hormones between seasons One and Two, forcing the show's producers to change Kyle's "look" from jeans-and-white-t-shirt goofy kid to much more spiffy duds to match his maturing face. Not wanting to be stuck with the usual "Superman/Lois Lane" diad in which dishonesty is necessary to protect the object of his affection, the writers did some things that are unique in my experience: they had Kyle be almost completely honest with his lady-love (he left out the pod part) and they wrote in a second pod child--female. Any one of these moves is usually a shark-jumper; all of them together should have kiboshed any chance the show ever had.

But it didn't. As high as the cheese factor is on Kyle XY, it does provide the viewer with solid plots and resolutions, relateable characters, heart-wrenching epiphanic moments and utterly unique situations and imagery.


ErikaRobin said...

Heh heh. You said, "Shark-jumper". Fonzie loves you. I haven't watched the show (yet), and now I really REALLY want to!

cleanaturalady said...

I have never watched the show. I think I get the premise now though. Thanks for filling me in.

Vero-D said...

Love you review! Kyle XY is one of my favorite shows... cannot believe ABC Family canceled... but the fans still want more, so go to and learn how can you help!!!