Yesterday, my friend James emailed me a link to an article about an internet series, Young American Bodies, on www.ifc.com. He included a brief description, but I was skeptical that it would be something I’d like. Then I started watching it. Now I love it! Here’s the first episode:

The series follows a group of friends and their romantic and sexual relationships. Maggie, the woman in this first scene above, is the feckless young woman unsure of what she really wants. Ben is the everyman who is maybe too much the good guy to attract female attention. Casey has a boyfriend, Noah, but their relationship seems increasingly distant and uncommunicative. Dia is dating Kelly, and they both seem really happy and well matched.

What I like most about this series is its realism. The characters seem real to me, their activities seem real, and their issues and problems seem real. I also really like the documentary feel of this series — the hand-held camera work in particular. It creates the sense that we’re simply eavesdropping on these people’s lives, that we’re voyeurs watching bits and pieces of their conversations and activities. And this bits-and-pieces element works really well — the narrative is often elliptical, forcing us to fill in gaps and figure out what’s happened in between scenes (though the series doesn’t make it difficult to fill in these gaps).

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