gemified | May 24th, 2011 - 12:00 am

Once Upon a Time…

By Gemma Jacob

There was a nice little bubble of a world that included a very happy couple called VivSter. Sure they had their own share of problems. That Aster had a tendency to let her emotions make her act impulsively and that Vivian had an uncanny knack of saying the completely wrong thing to her over sensitive girlfriend. However, one thing was clear, these two made sense together. They drove each other crazy in the best possible way. In the world of the webseries though I am told “Happily ever after…” does not create good drama, and so we come to episode two of Season 3 of ABM, in which we are as “Far Away” from that lovely little bubble as we could possibly be.

This episode takes us back to the weeks following “The Kiss Heard around the World,” or the S2 finale, either works depending on how dramatic you’re feeling. Vivian is still trying to come to grips with what happened and Aunt Jodie comes bearing baked goods and Gabe games of Scrabble. What I have always loved about ABM is the relationship the adults have with the younger characters. It is perhaps an idealised view of the parent-child relationship but that does not make it a perfect one. Whilst Aunt Jodie was shocked when Vivian came out to her last season it was that it had been kept a secret which hurt her the most, more than the fact that Vivian was gay. Gabe has always been nothing but supportive of Vivian and trusts his daughter to know that even though she may slip sometimes she was raised well and knows to do the right thing. That they would be as supportive at this time is no surprise to me. And let’s face it; Vivian refusing food is pretty serious.

As much as I hate to say it, the relationship I am liking the most this season is that of Vivian and Sophie. Yes, you read that right. Sophie and Vivian both feel guilty over their actions and they are still very much confused over why they kissed. Rather than act out or pretend it didn’t happen they are approaching it in a manner very mature for their years, certainly more mature than some people I know who are older than they are. They recognise how awkward it can be and even though they can’t explain their actions yet they are not willing to give up the friendship whilst they figure it out.

I do not know what the rest of the season holds for the two of them, but if the first episode was any indication it looks as though what transpired last season has only strengthened their friendship. I still think Sophie was wrong for kissing Vivian, and Vivian wrong for kissing her back. However, I am glad that the two of them have each other as friends. Trying to figure things out by yourself is hard, and in the absence of Arch (yes he’s still “gone”), then I think Sophie is a good choice as Vivian’s friend. As long as there’s no inappropriate kissing then I am happy that they are in each other’s lives. Plus, she got Vivian to eat again – all is right with the world!

Which relationship am I not liking very much at all this season? I’ll give you three guesses. This girl whose floor Aster is sleeping on…I don’t know. Architecture student. Very nice. Physically she’s the exact opposite of Vivian, but then most typical Californian girls are, and I suppose the opposite of Vivian is what Aster believes she needs right now. Carey (played by ABM’s newest talent, Marissa Skell) looks to me like someone who knows what she wants, certainly isn’t backwards about coming forwards, and is more than a little perceptive. Whether that’s because she’s broken people’s hearts or because she’s experienced them herself is to be seen. For now, I’m reserving judgement.

I was never going to be a fan of anyone that interfered with that happy little VivSter bubble, however that is not the only reason I am erring on disliking Carey. For all I know she’s a perfectly nice girl that goes around rescuing lost girls on bridges and bringing them back to her dorm room…I trust that both girls are more sensible than that and this is not a regular occurrence. Quick mention about the bridge, did you spot the fan cameo of Generosa Litton on the bridge? We did!

What I dislike the most about this new pairing (are we going with Astrey or Caster or even Carter on this one?) is that Aster seems to have reverted to her pre-S2 destructive behaviour. In episode eight of S2 when Vivian put her foot in her mouth about how Sophie had been the push she needed to come out to Aunt Jodie I thought for sure the next episode would see Aster not answering her calls and brooding over what she’d said. It didn’t. Instead, the next time we saw them they were happy and together and going to see Dr Glass – who I am also missing this season, in part because I miss Liza Weil but also because I think Aster really needs someone to talk to about everything that happened. I know that S2 saw Aster being the best she could possibly be, which is why the S2 finale was so catastrophic because it felt like the destruction of every good thing that had happened to Vivster that season.

I understand that Aster needed to get away. She was hurt over Vivian’s actions and as angry and petulant as Aster can be I don’t think seeing Vivian break the way she did when she saw Aster with Jaime went unnoticed. To do that to the person you love most in the world, that’s going to leave a scar. The, “Don’t be sweet” to me comment to Carey indicates that she’s punishing herself for her actions the way we so often do. I would like to think that Aster in LA was her way of figuring out things in her own head in a place where there aren’t any reminders.  The Aster that stopped herself from doing anything more than flirting with the Hot Girl at the end of S1 is gone. Instead, we have the Aster that wants to forget. Whilst I understand that, I hope it doesn’t leave her, as well as Vivster, too broken when she returns. That smile needs to be on screen more.

The, “You don’t know where you’re going and you can’t wait to get there” line has to be one of my favourites of the season thus far, and I think describes where Aster currently is perfectly. I am more than a little worried about her too. With Aster on the other side of the country with Carey, and Vivian and Sophie trying to figure things out in Westchester, things don’t look good for Vivster. In terms of drama and the way ABM still elicits strong emotions from its audience, this season cannot be faulted. I would just like if for at least half an episode those were happier emotions. But like I said, happily ever after doesn’t make for good drama…apparently!

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