ketchup reviews

Time to catch up on reviewing some TV shows, so that I can feel less guilty (as if the world suffers without my reviews) and I can clear some space on my ReplayTV:

  • Baby Borrowers falls into the manufactured-reality show category, which is something that I usually avoid. But it’s not reality-manufactured-as-a-contest, but one manufactured as a test: teen couples are suddenly thrust into role of being parents, but in a nice, revokable way rather than the the life-enveloping way it happens in reality. Despite the artificiality of the construct, it does a good job of showing the relentlessness of parenthood, and that different people approach it differently and that a working relationship between two parents can make a big difference. It is, perhaps, too artificial for me to keep watching, but I think it would be something teens might enjoy and learn from (and perhaps fairly instill an additional degree of caution.) And thematically, it leads nicely into…
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which as an ABC Family show reminds me that I am not a teenage girl, and thus not expected to enjoy this. Built around a teenager who has just discovered she is pregnant, this is nothing but artificial. The show attempts to blend humor and drama but brings the same non-serious tone to both, making neither work. While recognizing that teens have sex (in fact, precise percentages of teen sexual activity are spewed forth constantly by the show’s celibate asian female teen, because as doncha know, them asians are all about the numbers), we are shown that you can get pregnant having sex just once (because that’s what happened), and that while everyone is interested in sex, the guy who actually gets it regularly has to be doing so because there’s something wrong with him (sexually abused by his dad, which is the one reference to non-hetrosexual activity in this.) Some recognizable adults are brought in – the always-working, never-noticed Ernie Hudson is there as a shrink, and Dukes of Schneider’s John Hazzard is there as Dad. The casting that gets the most attention is Molly Ringwald doing a rather unnatural job as Mom (probably can’t blame her, everyone feels unnatural, so we’re not assuming great directing). Molly, of course, invokes the John Hughes teen films, and would that this series were at least that good, with characters that felt like they had some real life beyond just a love life, despite how important that was to them. I’m not asking for a revival of My So-Called Life (well, of course I am, but I’m not expecting to get it), but give me at least John Hughes. Please.
  • ABC Family also brings us The Middleman, which still is female-centered but not so teen-oriented. It’s a comic book-based series that is basically a riff on the also-comic-book-based Men In Black, although forsaking any attempt involving you in the action side of the story and just keeping it to the humor. A woman finds herself recruited to partner with a Middleman, part of a secret agency that handles the weird stuff which threatens us – aliens and the like. It’s got… well, I won’t say cable-quality special effects, since things like Battlestar Galactica generally look just fine. It’s more like some of what I saw on the first season of the new Dr. Who, the computer-generated effects that are sufficiently detailed but still aren’t well enough visually integrated into the scene that you can suspect disbelief that it’s anything but an effect. The humor is light and a little desperate – a lot of it seems to be merely quoting some pop culture item as a replacement for humor. But it’s a harmless TV show that you can have on without worrying about paying full attention to. In these quiet days of summer, it’s good to have a few of those on your hard disk.
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Published in: on July 2, 2008 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

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