‘My Life With The Walter Boys’ Review: How Many More Do We Need?

It’s the holiday season—a time to bring out the ugly pajamas, indulge in some comfort carbs, and binge-watch anything that is anything close to romantic. Even with this festive mindset, I must confess that this latest wave of teen shows has brought forth the most boring trope: one where an extremely intelligent, nerdy, sweet little girl is thrust into the world of 500 hormonal boys who are nothing like her but equally enamored. This narrative is as tired as that old sweater that never leaves my wardrobe (not for good reasons). No, your grown-up woman fantasies are showing! And not in a good way. My Life With The Walter Boys is nothing more than the name suggests. An ambitious girl from New York moves to rural Colorado after her entire family dies (!) in a car accident. Her new life is in the Walter household, a family that is populated with a battalion of boys that I can’t count on two hands, set against the background of a stunning ranch. This premise alone makes the show absolutely crass to begin with.

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As you can imagine, such a show is seemingly impossible to make without a love triangle, and this is proven when two of the Walter boys fall head over heels for Jackie the second she arrives at their home. It’s a classic case of “Are you a team-bookish, kind and sensitive boy or jock, football player and rebel without a cause boy?” It doesn’t stop there with the cliches though; there’s a couple of ex-girlfriends who are jealous of the new girl from out of town; the animosity between these two brothers is age-old; there’s the quirky best friend and a gay one (woot, they’re two separate people); and the protagonist is focused enough on her school work to make her the next President of the States. Where is the novelty? Sigh. Maybe it’s my age talking, but at this point, the adult stories and dialogue are way more interesting than those of the teens. Really, some really cute moments even made me somewhat emotional (why is it the end of the year?).

Alright, there’s nothing wrong with this show as such, apart from the fact that a girl whose entire family died in a car accident six months ago can be completely functional and act like nothing happened. Yes, different people cope differently, but it looks like this show is so focused on Jackie’s love life and the hottest boys in Colorado—the Walters—that there’s no time for coping. Hurray! Put the sad, real things away and focus on the world of fantasy. Adding to this, the show tries so hard to be self-aware about the tropes it’s playing on with dialogue like “It’s just the Cole-effect,” to describe why every girl in school wants to date the football-playing Walter boy. Nah, there’s no Cole effect except that he’s not at all interesting and not at all worth it. On the other hand, there is Alex, the sweet nerdy boy who gets targeted for bad writing and terrible decision-making because it’ll be too easy to choose him over Cole. As if we didn’t have enough with Team Jeremiah vs. Team Conrad this year, this formula is just not working!

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As much as I feel like this is becoming just another trope, the whole female solidarity thing is still the best part of the series. These kinds of teen shows thrive on female friendships, and surely this should not be something that gets left for the last minute or becomes just filler. Will, the oldest of the children, has a fiancée, Hayley, a subplot that could’ve been far more interesting had some thought been put into it. But Hayley’s character is truly enjoyable when she’s hanging with her bestie, Tara, the school guidance counselor and also seemingly the most fun character of the show. Even their dialogue seems more natural and breezy (which could be my age bias again). Amongst the Walters, rather than Cole and Alex, Danny seems to be the most interesting of the lot, the quiet film-nerd, who is sensitive and sensible. Nathan, the resident gay boy, is endearing, but his subplot feels forced and messy. Also, why are we still watching perfect teen girls, who can have any guy, try to fix the broken ones? They’re not meant to be mothers, please!

Nikki Rodriguez is absolutely the star of this show, though. While it starts off like some lame old Hallmark film, it’s the mid-season episodes that are the most watchable of the lot. This is where she really grows into her own, and we can see her change from a reserved city girl to a more free, still very organized country girl. It’s true you can do both, and this progression is great to watch. Sarah Rafferty is always a delight to watch, and she is rather delightful as a veterinarian, mother of 8, who keeps taking in kids like her life depends on it, and Marc Blucas’ George is a great partner to her.

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I’m not saying we’re watching these shows expecting cinematic masterpieces, but there should be something to keep us drawn in. These characters are as flat as cardboard, and the plot is just as surface-level. It’s not that I have a problem with familiar stories or character tropes, but this show really feels like it’s not even trying. Yeah, the ranch is beautiful, as are the spots that the boys take Jackie to, but really, it’s not at all as life-altering as they make it seem. There isn’t much more I can say about My Life With The Walter Boys. If you’ve seen the likes of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Summer I Turned Pretty, and XO Kitty, then I would say give this one a skip because it feels really dry in comparison. I would give My Life With The Walter Boys 2 out of 5 stars.


Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.


 

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My Life With The Walter Boys is nothing more than the name suggests. An ambitious girl from New York moves to rural Colorado after her entire family dies (!) in a car accident.'My Life With The Walter Boys' Review: How Many More Do We Need?