AVAHS – 6Teen: In a Retail Wonderland

Plot: During the holiday season, Caitlyn becomes a professional shopper and finds herself losing the drive to shop after breaking up with her boyfriend. Nikki tries to avoid an embarrassing vacation to Acapulco with her parents. Jen tries to deal with increasing pressure at work. Jude gives everyone odd Christmas presents. Jonesy works as a wrapper but finds his turf impeded by Ron. Wyatt deals with his anti-Christmas boss, Wayne, who is forcing him to work on Christmas.

Breakdown: I haven’t watched much of 6Teen, but I think I’ve noticed a big flaw in it. There are too many plots running at once.

It’s a 21 minute long episode and we technically have six plots running at once, and each plot needs to merge with another at some point. I get that a lot of these quick problems are meant to reflect the everyday issues (albeit exaggerated) that teens would encounter while working at a mall, but it’s a big car crash of plots.

Caitlyn loses her drive to shop after she breaks up with her boyfriend, Connor. He’s apparently never been brought up before now, we only see him once, he gets no dialogue, and Caitlyn gets over her funk because he was a ‘loser’ wearing antlers for his job, which, as Nikki points out, is hypocritical because Caitlyn wears a lemon hat at hers.

Nikki doesn’t want to go on vacation with her super-Christmassy parents. Caitlyn tells her to go because they’re going for her and deciding to go is just as much a gift for them as it is for her, so she goes. This one, despite being equally quick as the others, was probably the best plot. Also, what profound words from a girl who just got over her boyfriend because he was deemed unworthy of her attention because he wears antlers at his job…..

Jude, who is my favorite character so far, just floats around giving random gifts to people and sometimes kinda contributes to a scene.

Jen is perpetually pissed off at her boss because he’s a jerk, I guess, and she learns yoga and meditation to calm herself, but she still pulls bad numbers and risks being fired. Caitlyn gets back her drive to shop again and orders all sorts of stuff from Jen at the store, saving her job….the one she hates.

The plot with Jonesy doesn’t even get resolved. He gets tasked to be a gift wrapper and is actually very good at it. Seeing the good money, Ron, the security guard who…hates the teens (?) muscles in on his turf, proving to be a good wrapper too. He offers Jonesy an assortment of cookies, he eats the security guard gingerbread man and that’s it. I have no clue what else I’m supposed to take from that.

There was an even smaller plot involving him decorating the mall Christmas tree and it obviously being set up to fall at the end of the episode….and it does.

The weirdest breakneck plot, though, is a sudden Christmas Carol parody. Wayne, Wyatt’s terrible boss at the movie store, doesn’t want to promote Christmas movies because, in his words, they suck. To make matters worse, he forces Wyatt to work on Christmas.

As he naps, he gets visited extremely quickly by the ghosts of Christmas Past, represented by Jen, Present, represented by Wyatt, and Yet to Come, represented by Jude. Jen shows us that Wayne used to be so into movies, Christmas movies in particular, that he’d refuse to go to the bathroom while watching one and would pee his pants all the time because of it.

Wyatt then shows us that he’s now an ass who doesn’t like Christmas movies….so there’s no explanation as to why he’s this way. It’s just ‘You used to be nice and love Christmas movies, but now you’re a twenty-something dick who doesn’t.’

Jude BS’s his way through his part, and it’s kinda funny. It all culminates in him just telling him to be a better person.

Somehow, this does indeed cause him to pull a 180 and he suddenly becomes incredibly nice and Christmassy, to an almost weird level. He gives the teens a big bag of chips and…I guess it’s meant to imply Wyatt gets Christmas off now.

There’s nothing seriously wrong with this special. It’s perfectly fine. I got some smiles out of it, but no laughs. It just has a bit plot web problem. No plot is the main one and they all run at once, some into each other, making things more complicated.

Plus, I didn’t really care about what was happening. Nothing felt like it had any stakes. There was also only a little Christmas spirit here, which isn’t a terrible thing. Sometimes, it’s a bit much when specials feel the need to be overtly festive. Even though I would’ve liked a little more, it was a realistic level and there were some heartstrings pulled a tiny bit with Nikki’s plot.

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