The engaging "Alice" is a Brazilian television series that was originally featured on HBO Latin. I'm not sure why the traditional HBO networks are not also presenting some of these productions for U.S. audiences. HBO Latin has also scored with two seasons of TV's best serial killer drama "Epitafios" as well as the harrowing prison piece "Capadocia." As a premium network, I think all of these shows would connect with a wider adult audience here in the states. I'm no programming executive, though. But be that as it may, there is always DVD and all three shows are available to discriminating viewers. "Alice" tells the story of a naive young woman who must travel to the big city upon the death of her father. Leaving her family, friends, and fiance behind--Alice is initially wary of the magnitude of Sao Paulo but becomes increasingly seduced by its charms. Before she even realizes it's happening, she is starting to build a different life with new friends, a new job, and a struggle for identity and independence.
As a 26 year old woman, Alice is a pretty typical representation of young adulthood. I'd like to say that we're all grown up and responsible by that age (and we should be), but it has become increasingly common for people to use their twenties to figure the world and their place in it out. Alice embraces drunkenness, drug fueled nights, and open sexuality in her seeming liberation. Along the way, she betrays every one that cares about her with her utter and complete selfishness. No one is more battered than her friend Nick. Nick gave her a job, covered for her when she messed up, got her promotions and assignments, lent her money, supported her every whim--and the minute he ever questioned one of her schemes or her obnoxious behavior, she blew up at him like he was an unreasonable ogre. Luckily, the actress does not alienate the viewers and maintains a sense of being grounded. Alice is not always likable, but she is believable. But as she becomes more successful, her bad acts intensify.
I liked "Alice" mostly due to a large and engaging cast. It is colorful and interesting and it's nice to see the arc of Alice's character. In thirteen episodes, the finale seems a bit rushed. Alice never has to deal with the repercussions of her actions. While hitting rock bottom in Episode 12, everything seems forgiven and/or unresolved going into the final episode. I'd have liked to see her realize the consequences of her actions, but everyone seems perfectly content to be used as her doormat and still give her unconditional love in return. The final episode has Alice confront a painful past back in her small town and wraps everything up with a pretty and convenient bow. One of the things I enjoyed about "Alice" was how messy and real it seemed, but for the finale--all that mess was swept under a rug to be forgotten forever. Still, a worthwhile show that straddles the line between unpleasant and uplifting--a strange combination. KGHarris, 5/11.