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Kyle XY: The Secret to Life

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board. 

Those that grew up in the 90s and early-mid 2000s will remember the dramatic, colorful TV shows that influenced popular culture. From Dawson’s Creek to Gilmore Girls to Zoey 101 and Hannah Montana, every single teen sitcom made its mark. While many may claim that these shows are well known because they were the best, there are some great shows that were forgotten. Kyle XY is just one example of an exceptional show that fell out of the public view. Filled with sci-fi mystery, classic teen drama, and charming family and friend relationships, Kyle XY is a show everyone should watch.

An Introduction

Image from Tunefind

In the beginning of the first episode, viewers are introduced to a naked boy, covered in pink goo, waking up in the middle of a forest. He soon finds his way into the city and is sent to a juvenile detention center. There, the audience finds out that this boy has an extreme case of amnesia, so he doesn’t know how to speak or act like a normal member of society. Lou Daniels, director of the juvenile detention center, calls psychologist, Nicole Trager, saying, “This boy is right up your alley.” Nicole visits the detention center ready to treat yet another troubled teen only to be escorted to “John Doe”, while he is creating a highly realistic drawing. After sharing what little the detention center knows of the amnesiac's origins, Lou suddenly grabs and flips the boy around to show Nicole and the audience that he has no belly button — the best scene in season one if you ask me. Nicole names the boy Kyle and decides he should live in her home for treatment. At her home he meets Nicole’s husband, Stephen, and her two children, Lori and Josh. Over the first season, Kyle starts to interact and learn about life from this new family as well as uncover the mystery behind his missing memory and belly button. 

Sci-fi Storylines

From secret organizations to probable alien existence and dangerous scientific experiments, Kyle XY is filled with fantastic storylines and misadventures. There are many scenes in which viewers second guess what they think they know or are shocked by twist endings — I know I was definitely surprised by season two’s cliffhanger. Another surprising aspect for the early 2000s is the convincing editing and sci-fi graphics, which hold up fairly well 16 years later. When a character displays certain powers or a secret organization utilizes futuristic technology, viewers can still be enraptured in the story without thinking, “Wow, that editing is terrible.”

Slice of Life Lessons

While the sci-fi storyline is most prevalent throughout the main arch of the show, classic teen sitcom storylines are at the core. For instance, tropes such as the girl next door, love triangles, and risqué teen behavior are prevailing threads and, just like other typical teen shows, characters learn and grow from their struggles.

While he may be a natural genius academically, Kyle starts his new life not knowing anything about human norms. Kyle slowly learns how to express emotions and how to create strong bonds between his newfound family. His story is a genesis of human life told from the viewpoint of a teenager. He has so many questions about society and why it works the way it does, and his genuine curiosity causes viewers to question why they act the way they do. Kyle grows to become a wise older brother figure for the majority of the other teen characters through his struggles and triumphs over academics, love, and life.

However, Kyle is not the only one who learns something new. Each character in Kyle XY grows as a person throughout each episode. Josh learns to grow out of his preteen obsessions with video games and raunchy magazines, instead finding a new appreciation for his family and connections with others. Lori learns to be an absolute girl boss by understanding her own self worth outside of her romantic relationships. Even Declan, Lori’s love interest, learns that being rich and popular is not everything and evolves out of the stereotypical jock role to become a genuinely likable person and friend. The characters stumble through losing their jobs, addiction, cancer, break-ups, and depression, and all emerge to be better people.

Kyle’s Secret to Life

Image from Rotten Tomatoes

Kyle XY is one of my favorite shows because it brings together many genres while creating a cohesive watching experience. It may have been overshadowed by the shows I mentioned earlier, but this show is truly one of a kind. Viewers can relate to the characters, and their conflicts, even with the supernatural elements of the story. Watching Kyle gradually evolve from a blank slate into a person capable of love, ambition, and personal values helps viewers learn a bit about the true meaning of life. Whether it be technological innovation or self actualization, Kyle XY tells viewers to question societal norms and always keep hope and faith in your heart.

Featured Image: IMDB

Images: Tunefind, Rotten Tomatoes

Sources: IMDb, IMDb, IMDb, IMDb, IMDb, Hulu

Contact Rosie Mitchell with comments at rosalita.mitchell@bsu.edu and on Instagram @rivetin_rosie.