Post-Grad, He Just Wants His Pants Back!
Issue   |   Tue, 02/28/2012 - 23:07
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Though perhaps too risqué for the more conservative audience, MTV’s new scripted comedy uses the holy trinity of sex, drugs and drinking to attract the “Jersey Shore” crowd.

MTV’s latest scripted comedy, “I Just Want My Pants Back,” made its debut on Thursday, Feb. 2 to a reception ranging from accepting and optimistic to downright furious. Based on David J. Rosen’s 2007 novel of the same title, the series revolves around the lives of four 20-something year-olds as they navigate the post-college haze of booze, sex and unemployment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Main character Jason Strider (Peter Vack), is a Cornell Univ. graduate and jumps from job to job in his struggle to maintain a somewhat steady income as he blows most of his money on pizza, alcohol and weed. Over the course of the show’s first four episodes, he has been employed as an interviewer at a casting agency, an intern at a health food/porn magazine and as a maid and male hooker for a wealthy actress. His fast-talking and impossibly witty friend Tina (Kim Shaw), hasn’t had much better luck during her first few years out of college, and the two friends continually rely on each other for food, support and late-night adventures, which seem to be available to them in copious amounts in the world of late-night New York City. Eric and Stacey, played by Jordan Carlos and Elisabeth Hower, respectively, complete the quartet of lost post-college souls as they attempt to transition their boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with each other from the world of college into the real world, with help from Jason and Tina. They, unlike Jason and Tina, seem to have a clear idea of where they want their lives to go as Eric is in medical school and Stacey in law school, a constant source of stress for the both of them.

The series gets its name from Jason’s most notable night thus far, when he takes a drunken girl named Jane home, has sex with her in (yes, in not on) his refrigerator and realizes that she has left the next morning with his favorite pants, leaving him with a fake phone number. Jason’s search for Jane and his pants intertwines hilariously with his search for employment and an epic night over the course of the series thus far.

One of the only semi-realistic shows today that’s geared towards just-out-of-college 20-somethings, “I Just Want My Pants Back” is a refreshing, well-written break from MTV’s usual lineup, which is cluttered with reality shows that have never done a good job of representing any substantial demographic.And that’s exactly what it is: a show for the late teens to early 20s demographic, as it relies heavily on its copious scenes involving sex, drugs and drinking. MTV has done a good job of targeting this demographic, seeing as the show airs at 11 p.m. on Thursdays, directly after the reality show “Jersey Shore.” Furthermore, whenever MTV airs “I Just Want My Pants Back” during the day, its more risqué moments are censored.

The Parents Television Council, however, is not satisfied with this, as president Tim Winter claimed that “once again, MTV is taking HBO-style content and marketing it to a Nickelodeon-age audience,” as reported by He continued to say, “The network programming executive is on the record saying 12-year-olds are in his crosshairs. And the TV-14 content rating is intentionally misleading for parents and for advertisers. The Parents Television Council will not sit silently and allow this affront to go unchallenged.” Although it is true that MTV’s target demographic is ages 12 to 34, it seems clear from the different air times of different shows that this doesn’t apply to their entire network across the board.

The PTC’s problems aside, “I Just Want My Pants Back” is one of MTV’s first quality shows in a very long time. The fiery, witty banter that seems trademark to each of the characters in the show — even to the owner of the bodega down the block — gives the show a feel of hipster intellectualism that has been lacking in most of MTV’s programs as of late. The show’s intense reliability (at least, for 20-something year-olds) is its greatest asset, and it gains and retains viewers because of this. It’s easy, as a viewer, to find yourself rooting for each of the characters; you want Jason to finally find a job and you want Tina to find a new apartment. But at the end of the show’s 30-minute run, you mostly just want Jason to get his pants back.