I watched the pilot episode of ABC Family’s new drama Chasing Life tonight, and I am definitely going to catch it again. Yay for the newer trend of networks launching great shows during the summer! I am thrilled they no longer rely on regurgitated reruns just because it’s warm outside.
The main character, April, is a typical 24-year-old carving out her place in the world. She’s a budding reporter trying to turn both her demanding boss’s and hot co-worker’s heads by landing an exclusive with a baseball player in the middle of a doping scandal. (Okay, that plotline is played out but this show is refreshing overall.) April is a girl after my own heart: she relies on sarcasm when she’s nervous and bats her eyelashes if the situation fits. She’s smart, witty, and determined to stand out ... just not as a statistic.
Turns out April has cancer. Leukemia. She learns about her disease from her estranged uncle who happens to be the doctor at the hospital she's taken to after she faints. The devastating diagnosis comes on the night she kisses her work crush for the first time ... right before she lands her first assignment as a reporter.
April's reaction is completely authentic for a seemingly invincible 20-something -- of the “you’ve got to be kidding me" variety -- but there’s a depth to her that’s atypical. She’s overwhelmed with excess estrogen living at home with her widowed mom who is now dating again, her laptop-obsessed grandmother, and her sister with major attitude. April seems like the glue for all of the women in her life, and she’s afraid of telling them. She keeps her diagnosis a secret at her own expense.
The cool thing about this show is the humor in the face of adversity. I am not going to need my tissue box every week because April is sassy and strong. It’s not all about her cancer. I can say (from firsthand knowledge of caring for my mom who died from the disease) that the depiction of April not being completely defined by her cancer is an accurate one. There’s still joy, there are still interesting twists and turns, and there are still butterflies about life’s possibilities after a cancer diagnosis. And I am looking forward to watching April deal with it all.
Did you watch the pilot episode of Chasing Life?
Image via ABC Family