My Life With the Walter Boys: Season 1 REVIEW – Walter Waste

All these characters are paper-thin and unlikeable.

My Life With the Walter Boys
My Life With the Walter Boys

Nothing to see here, just another show about a love triangle involving two brothers. The Summer I Turned Pretty shows us why this is such a popular trope, however, My Life With the Walter Boys isn’t as well written or acted.

Jackie (Nikki Rodriguez) has just lost her entire family in a shocking car accident. Now, she’s leaving New York for a new home in Colorado with the Walter family. Katherine Walter (Sarah Rafferty) was her mom’s best friend, and was selected to be the guardian of her children should anything happen to her. There are 10 children living in that house, 9 of whom are boys. Jackie catches the interest of Walter boys Alex (Ashby Gentry) and Cole (Noah LaLonde), though it’s hard to know why exactly. At times, it does seem that the two are wrestling for Jackie’s affections not because of her charms, but due to sibling rivalry, a rivalry that started with Cole messing with Alex’s girlfriend at one point.

It’s seems like an insta-love situation thing with Alex, who just decides he likes her from the moment he sees her. They don’t have similar interests, they never properly share anything with each other that’s meaningful, so it’s difficult to feel anything for this pairing when there’s no seeming reason as to why they even like each other. Alex’s characterisation is nice guy to the point of neediness, and behaves like such a doormat in his relationship with Jackie, which makes it difficult to root for him.

Jackie and Cole’s relationship is a little more developed. We can see why they’re drawn to each other, both broken by their own individual losses, and at least their conversations have more direction and purpose. It’s a tad strange that in a TV show that is supposedly built around Jackie as a protagonist, she is ironically the most underdeveloped character in the series thus far. She’s good at everything she does, be it sports or school, and the only time the show allows her to be imperfect is through her grief. The way her grief is explored in the series feels artificial almost, when that should be the driving force and impetus the show is built around.

I’m not saying grief needs to be messy, after all everyone processes it differently, but Jackie doesn’t seem to contend with it at all unless it’s relevant to the conflict of the episode. In comparison, we see a more authentic exploration with regard to grief in The Summer I Turned Pretty, be it through each character’s dalliance with sabotage or avoidance.

The show is more interested in Cole, who gets the most character development out of all everyone. We discover that he used to be really good at football and even had a future pursuing it, until he blew out his knee. He lives in the shatters of this dream, turning to meaningless sex and pointless rebellions in order to manage his pain. The problem here is that Cole is a bit too destructive and toxic to end up as a viable love interest. It’s hard to root for him when he’s so careless with the feelings of those around him.

The show is also so eager to pair up every single character that we never get a chance to understand why they like each other. Why does Nathan (Corey Fogelmanis) like Skylar (Jaylan Evans)? No one knows. Also, he instigates a relationship with Skylar is a very discomforting way, before having a meltdown when Skylar doesn’t immediately accept his romantic gesture. There seems to be some romantic intrigue between Danny (Connor Stanhope) and Erin (Alisha Newton) – who used to sleep with Cole by the way, all these relationships are so incestuous – but there isn’t enough developed there for us to understand what fuels this interest. And eldest brother Will (Johnny Link) constantly lies and keeps things from his fiancé Haley (Zoë Soul), and then gaslights her to insinuate that everything’s her fault. Why on earth Haley continues to remain with him no one knows.

It’s okay to have flawed characters, but this should be balanced with some redeeming qualities. Cole and Alex seem to only be nice to Jackie – Alex treats his best friend Kylie pretty poorly – and Cole doesn’t really make amends with the people he hurt.

It’s a shame because the show does have potential, especially since we don’t really have shows about large, bustling families anymore. These characters and relationships are just too shallowly built. There’s the perfect opportunity for Katherine to talk to Jackie about her relationships with Cole and Alex, a chance to be a replacement mother figure. But despite her knowing how everyone feels, she never tries to offer that support to Jackie. All her conversations with Jackie involve a trip down memory lane with Jackie’s mom, and that’s nice and all, but that’s not what a mother does. She also seems to be living in the clouds about her family’s financial situation, where she seems to know they are in trouble, but isn’t actively doing anything about it. It feels immensely irresponsible for them to take charge of Jackie when they’re already struggling financially.

Maybe stories about brotherly love triangles should just be left to the capable hands of Jenny Han.

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My Life With the Walter Boys
There's nothing quite memorable about My Life With the Walter Boys - not its characters nor its storylines. It's all pretty mediocre.