2000: Young Americans

OUT043313Young Americans was an American television drama on The WB network created by Steven Antin. The show debuted in 2000 as a summer replacement for, and spin-off from, another Columbia TriStar Television production, Dawson’s Creek, in three episodes at the end of that series’ third season.

The show explores themes of forbidden love, morality and social classes.

Ian Somerhalder is Hamilton Fleming, a student at the school and the son of the dean. Hamilton finds himself confused by his attraction to Jake.

The show is set in the town of New Rawley at a tiny boarding school, Rawley Academy.

The plot focuses mainly on Will’s moral dilemmas and the forbidden love of Scout and Bella.

The characters Jake and Hamilton are explored in a storyline that until the last two episodes has very little to nothing to do with any of the other main characters.

ya_beginning029The Beginning

Written by Steven Antin, Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.

Will settles in at Rawley Academy, where the teacher Finn learns a secret Will shared with Scout. When Scout’s dating Bella turns serious, Mr. Banks explains why he won’t allow it. The rowing team’s cox Jacqueline “Jake” Pratt (Paltrow’s cousin Moennig), who also has a secret, makes a profound impression on Hamilton. Hamilton is surprised by this and starts to question his own sexual orientation.

ya_ourtown009Our Town

Written by Steven Antin, Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.

Will agonises over telling best friend Sean about his attending the summer session at Rawley Academy. Scout is introduced to Will’s old friends at Sean’s party. Bella gets upset when Scout tells her that he wants to tell his father about her. Sean misreads the situation and a brawl ensues. Hamilton lets Jake know that he’s not into guys. Jake’s bike is confiscated by the groundskeeper and Hamilton offers to help get it back.

Guest cast includes Matt Czuchry as Sean McGrail.

ya_kisstell031Kiss and Tell

Written by Kerry Ehrin, Directed by Perry Lang.

Will and returned student Ryder accidentally see Finn kissing the dean’s wife. Will finds himself in a position where he has to choose between protecting Finn or himself. Scout has a hard time stopping thinking about Bella, but then Paige, a long time friend of Scout’s family, turns up. Scout asks Paige out on a date to the newly restored drive-in theater. Lena, an LA resident visiting Rawley Academy, hears about the drive-in and invites Jake to join her and Hamilton.

Guest cast includes Charlie Hunnam as Gregor Ryder, Matt Czuchry as Sean McGrail, and Kathleen Bridget Kelly as Kate Fleming.


Written by Anne McGrail, Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.

Will asks Bella to join him for the Summer Cotillion to impress on Caroline. Hamilton and Jake agree to go alone together, an agreement which is broken when Lena asks Hamilton to go with her.

Guest cast includes Matt Czuchry as Sean McGrail.

ya_winning028Winning Isn’t Everything

Written by Andi Bushell & Jim Praytor, Directed by Mel Damski.

Scout’s father, senator Calhoun, makes an unexpected visit for parents’ weekend and the regatta. As does Jakes mother. Will’s conflict with his father deepens and Bella contemplates meeting senator Calhoun.


Written by Laura Wolner & Greg Berlanti, Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.

Bella writes a confessing letter to senator Calhoun and hides it in her jacket, which her younger sister, Grace, subsequently borrows and loses. Ryder finds himself in possession of Will’s laptop. Jake and Hamilton go on a date and are confused as to who should pick up the tab or ride the “bitch pad” of Jake’s bike.

This episode is narrated by Kate Bosworth as Bella Banks.

Guest cast includes Charlie Hunnam as Gregor Ryder.

ya_freewill033Free Will

Written by Ellen Byron & Lissa Kapstrom, Directed by Robert M. Williams, Jr.

Bella receives a birthday present from her mother but is unsure how to relate to it. Will’s request to tutor has been approved. Will is surprised to learn who he will tutor and what has changed since they last met. Hamilton suggests moving in with Jake so that they can spend more time together.

Guest cast includes Charlie Hunnam as Gregor Ryder, Matt Czuchry as Sean McGrail, and Kathleen Bridget Kelly as Kate Fleming.

ya_08_40Will Bella Scout Her Mom?

Written by Steven Antin & Joe Voci, Directed by James Whitmore, Jr.

Will learns that the funding for his scholarship has been withdrawn. Bella’s father receives a phone call informing him that the gas station is up for auction, and Bella seeks out her mother to put the deed in her father’s name. Jake’s masquerade comes to an abrupt halt. At the end of the episode, Will gets new funding, and is allowed to remain at school for the fall.

While this episode is clearly meant to serve as the introduction for the fall season of the show, Young Americans was canceled before any additional episodes could be produced.

Guest cast includes Matt Czuchry as Sean McGrail, andGlynnis O’Connor as Donna Banks.


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