Hit or Sh**: Freeform’s FAMOUS IN LOVE

In this Crossfader series, our intricate and complex rating system will tell you definitively whether new television pilots are worth your valuable time. We call it: HIT OR SH**.

famous in love

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If I were to comprise a list of recent television shows and movies that take advantage of a glitzy Los Angeles setting, it would be pretty hefty. Those that most recently get it “right” would include LA LA LAND, LOVE, and maybe even CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND for their spot-on portrayal of West Covina (if that were to count). FAMOUS IN LOVE would not be one of them.

FAMOUS IN LOVE follows a newly discovered actress (played by Bella Thorne), Paige Townsen, rising her way to the top of stardom, despite all the cutthroat drama that runs amuck in the ‘biz. Yes, Hollywood is known for being plastic, superficial, and cruel, but FAMOUS IN LOVE overdoes it by making its characters seem like lying, scheming, yet attractive, weasels most of the time.

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Bella Thorne kissing attractive male #1

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Paige Townsen is the center of a typical rags-to-riches Hollywood story. She’s a student living in Los Angeles with her best friends: Cassie, another aspiring actress, and Jake, a screenwriter. When Cassie whisks Paige away for an audition for the leading role in a hit book series film adaptation, Paige miraculously lands the part using her acting prowess that wows the producers. Paige–though excited–has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Rainer, Paige’s new co-star and A-list celebrity, begins to take an interest in her right when she and Jake acknowledge their feelings for each other.

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Bella Thorne kissing attractive male #2

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This show attempts to capture you in a messy, sexy, web of Hollywood drama that feels not only confusing, but disingenuous. Rainer has off-screen drama with Jordan, another dreamy A-list heartthrob. The two used to share a former flame, and to make matters worse, Jordan is secretly sleeping with a woman named Nina. Nina is not only Rainer’s mother, but also a famous producer. Nina and Jordan’s affair is revealed at the end of the pilot, along with another character, Alexis, using her “surprise” bisexuality for shock factor. Alexis, from what of her we saw in the pilot, appears to be a normal actress, fighting with another girl for the part Paige eventually lands. There is no hint of her sexuality throughout the pilot, and the scene in which she kisses the actress she was up against comes from nowhere. As of this rate, it appears as though her sexuality will be used as another tool for suspense and secrecy rather than showing any real truth.

Though FAMOUS IN LOVE sets you up for wanting to know what happens next, it fails to manage to connect you to any of the characters, which ruins the aforementioned attempt to grab your attention. Paige is barely motivated to do her audition, as she does so on a whim, with a very underwhelming performance in said audition to say the least. Her getting the part offers no surprise, along with her developing love-triangle between Rainer and Jake, who are both similar in spirit and look basically interchangeable.

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Bella Thorne kissing attractive male #3

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Moving onto a more unpredictable character: Nina. She’s a cutthroat producer that will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Even though producers aren’t usually the type to get mobbed by paparazzi, they still manage to follow her everywhere she goes. In fact, paparazzi flock around nearly every character in the show, just in case people forget that they’re in the world of show business. She’s fun to watch, but the moment her affair with Jordan is revealed, any grounding within her character is thrown out the window. Certainly, an actual successful Hollywood producer would have more important things to do and more accomplished people to do. 

FAMOUS IN LOVE brings together a group of cookie-cutter characters that are brought together with a slab of random mystery, beauty, and sass to paint a simple plot as something that it’s not. Freeform released all the episodes online available to stream, while continuing to broadcast it on a weekly basis as well. Will anyone take advantage of the ability to binge the entire season? Probably not. That may sound harsh, but that’s show business.

Verdict: Sh**

FAMOUS IN LOVE is available to watch in its entirety on Hulu 

Michelle is a guest contributor for Crossfader Magazine. She self-published a book about fairies when she was eight. It sold two copies.

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