Q.V. Hough

The Significance of MTV’s ‘Eye Candy’

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Do you remember the late 90s transitional phase of Jennifer Love Hewitt? She appeared in FOX’s Party of Five for 99 episodes from 1995 to 2000 and co-starred in both I Know What You Did Last Summer and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. Somewhere between 1998 and 2000, JLH began to shed her network innocence and took on more risky film roles that portrayed her as a sex symbol. However, shortly before the release of Heartbreakers (2001), Hewitt starred in a New York City-based spinoff of Party of Five called Time of Your Life. The show was cancelled shortly after the pilot aired on October 25, 1999, but I found the brief run significant, as the series teamed up JLH with a little-known actress by the name of Jennifer Garner.

I never watched Party of Five, and I only watched an episode or two of Time of Your Life, but I remember the star power of Sarah Reeves Merrin’s roommate. In 1999, Jennifer Garner possessed a handful of acting credits to her name — including “Woman in Elevator” from Woody Allen’s Deconstructing Harry — but a few weeks after September 11, 2001, she would begin a five-season run as Sydney Briston on ABC’s Alias. I never watched that show either, but I moved to Hollywood a few weeks after the final episode in 2006 and discovered that I lived down the block (Sycamore Avenue) from Sydney’s “home.”

Why is MTV’s Eye Candy significant? Just like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jennifer Garner from Time of Your Life, we are watching the transformation of Victoria Justice (at least some of us) and the blossoming talent of Kiersey Clemons.

Eye Candy (based on R.L. Stine’s novel) was developed by Christian Taylor, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 1993 (Best Short Film, Live Action) and wrote for both Six Feet Under and Lost. Most recently, Taylor served as the co-executive producer of MTV’s Teen Wolf and now has another potential hit with Justice and Clemons as his leading ladies.

After two episodes, it’s too early to aesthetically categorize Eye Candy with Time of Your Life, but there’s potential if Justice and Clemons (along with their male co-stars) can tap into something authentic. The subject matter (serial killer/kidnapped sister) allows Justice to dig deep, but I’ve already seen numerous shots featuring the same open-mouthed stare. I like how technology was used in the second episode, and it would be interesting if Christian Taylor incorporates a little of David Fincher’s Se7en into Eye Candy, or better yet — The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

After all, Justice’s Lindy Sampson is a hacker.

Eye Candy airs Mondays at 10/9c on MTV.

-Q.V. Hough

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