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In MTV’s new, hourlong thriller series, Eye Candy, there are two kinds of online-dating types: serial killer or serial killer victim. The (very loose) adaptation of R.L. Stine‘s (Goosebumps) 2004 novel of the same name was developed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) and exists in the kind of world where all NYPD detectives are 23 years old, massive clubs are hiding behind flower-shop storefronts and people who aren’t supposed to be crazy say things like, “Cars are our friends. They’re like people. And we just throw them away!”
Forget Catfish — Eye Candy will make viewers never want to online date again. But luckily for a terrorized New York, there is a young, beautiful hacker, Lindy (former Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice), who is out to bring the murderer to justice. Her plan? To date her way to the truth.
Read more ‘Hindsight:’ TV Review
Lindy is attempting some catfishing of her own, though, by luring the killer (who, intriguingly, doesn’t seem to have a gender bias when it comes to murder victims). As Lindy and the killer try to turn the tables on each other using cell phones, laptops, street cameras and more (“You remember I’m a hacker, right?”), Eye Candy makes broad use of tech, though little sense of it.
In fact, there’s not much about the series that makes sense at all. Though Eye Candy starts off being about Lindy’s search for her sister, Sara, who was abducted three years earlier, it quickly switches gears and becomes about Lindy’s dating life. And, of course, all of the murders (there are a lot of murders). Who can worry about Sara when bodies are piling up all over New York?
The lurking serial killer — whose perspective and thought process viewers hear in short bursts before a kill — has an obsession with perfection. As he shows up at a young, pretty girl’s apartment, a creepy voiceover pipes up: “They’re all liars, playing their online games. Crooked teeth. Poor girl. Now I’ll have to kill you.” Sure it’s a play on online perception versus reality, but it’s also ironic that, on Eye Candy, everyone actually is perfect. There is no place in this version of New York for any but the young and the smoking hot. CW, eat your heart out.
Where Eye Candy actually makes an interesting stand, at least in its first two episodes (the second of which picks up a load of lens flares and becomes more CSI than “I Know Who You Tindered Last Summer”), is that the men of the show are largely the ones objectified and killed off. It’s Lindy’s ex-boyfriend, for instance, who ends up mostly naked during a post-shower rooftop tryst. In fact, there is a veritable parade of beefy-armed and well-toned young sirs that crowd in, posturing for Lindy’s attention (and often, they pay dearly for it).
Eye Candy is designed to appeal to an MTV audience, and in that it will surely succeed. Even though the story seems better suited for a Scream-esque film than for a television series, the show doesn’t seem burdened or hurried (or all that emotional) about its mounting number of corpses or Lindy’s attempts to date all of the suspects. Perhaps it’s because it’s so obvious that proximity to Lindy is the city’s current leading cause of death.
Eye Candy is fractured and campy, with mind-numbing dialogue and a total lack of plausibility. But MTV’s fairly safe bet is that all of these sins can be glossed over by the show’s central tenet, as described by one of Lindy’s friends: “Killer or not, he’s hot.”
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