'Underemployed' review: The kids aren't all right

"Sophia" (played by Michelle Ang) works at Donut

"Sophia" (played by Michelle Ang) works at Donut Girl in "Underemployed." (Credit: MTV)

THE SHOW "Underemployed"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday at 10 p.m. on MTV

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Life after college isn't the stuff of romance. For this group of pals who live in Chicago, jobs are scarce, or just lousy. Sophia (Michelle Ang) sells doughnuts. Lou (Jared Kusnitz) has to go begging for a gig from his old man. Daphne (Sarah Habel) gets an unpaid one in an ad agency where her boss hits on her. Reviva (Inbar Lavi)? Life took an unexpected turn for her: She's pregnant, and Lou's the father.


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MY SAY What do 20-somethings want? It's a question that reliably pops up every decade, with answers urgently sought by advertisers, movie studios and networks (especially this one). "Girls" creator Lena Dunham just scored a $3.5-million book deal because a publisher thinks she has the answer. Movies from "St. Elmo's Fire" to "Reality Bites" (to Name Your Favorite John Hughes movie) have worked the same territory, too. The movies (and series, like "Girls") that succeed have a take on that 20-something question that's usually original, fresh, funny and unexpected. But based on the first outing, "Underemployed" does not. It's too content to be content. What do 20-somethings want? In Chicago, circa 2012, you'll be shocked, shocked to learn that jobs are hard to come by, and that the tough knocks of life tend to undermine ideals or quash dreams. Adults (that is, anyone over 22) are predatory, mostly in a sexual way. Yeah, reality bites pretty much.

BOTTOM LINE We've been down this road before and all the signposts of "Underemployed" look the same. My advice -- keep moving along.

GRADE C

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