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Review: I Hate My Teenage Daughter (Fox) 1x1

Posted on December 1, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

I Hate My Teenage Daughter

In the US: Wednesdays, 9:30pm(E/P)/8:30c, Fox

Sometimes, I feel like I'm psychic. Do you?

I'll tell you for why. I looked at the title of this show - I Hate My Teenage Daughter. I saw what network it was on - Fox.

And I knew in an instant that watching it would feel like being slowly licked by the Creature from the Black Lagoon, assuming that the lagoon was black because it was under a sewer outlet.

And hey! Guess what! I was right.

I wonder if I can use my powers to win the lottery.

For those of you whose psychic powers aren't as well developed as mine, let me fill you in on the plot: we have two single mothers, one of them played by Jaime Pressly from My Name is Earl. Both of them were nerds at school, but have since developed okay. But they both have pretty, popular daughters. And oh my lordy, it turns out the daughters are turning into the same sort of mean girls who made their lives a misery at High School.

Cue zero hilarity and an overwhelming desire to take a shower. Here's a trailer - one minor character has been recast since the pilot, otherwise these are the highlights.

About
I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER is a new multi-camera family comedy starring Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran as single moms, best friends - and former nerds - who fear their privileged and overly indulged daughters are turning out just like the mean girls who picked on them in high school.

ANNIE (Pressly), who was raised in an ultra-strict, über-religious household where she had little-to-no freedom, pretty much allows her daughter, SOPHIE (Kristi Lauren), to do whatever she wants. Annie's best friend NIKKI (Finneran), once an unpopular, overweight social pariah, is now a pretty Southern belle who also allows her daughter, MACKENZIE (Aisha Dee), to do as she pleases.

The moms have given the girls everything they've asked for and everything they never had: clothes, money and self-esteem. The unintended consequence is that they have created two mean girls just like the ones who tortured them years ago.

The series also stars Eric Sheffer Stevens as Annie's ex-husband MATT, who wants to be a good parent, but doesn't know what that even means; Kevin Rahm as Matt's brother JACK, a father figure to Sophie whose meddling would annoy Annie more if she didn't have such a crush on him; and Chad L. Coleman as GARY, Nikki's ex-husband, who also tries to help raise his challenging daughter, but the couple's complicated relationship often makes his involvement more difficult.

As their daughters begin to experience their first high school dances and other life-changing teen events, Annie and Nikki are often reminded of their own tortured adolescent years. But when Sophie and Mackenzie's mean-girl antics cross the line, the moms quickly realize that they must, for the first time, dole out some real punishment and fix what is broken. They have no idea how to do that, but they do know one thing: They can't do it without each other.

I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER is produced by Bonanza Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television. Sherry Bilsing-Graham ("The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Friends") and Ellen Kreamer ("The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Friends") are executive producers. The series is written by Bilsing-Graham and Kreamer. Andy Ackerman ("Seinfeld," "The New Adventures of Old Christine") executive-produced and directed the pilot.

Is it any good?
Just so I don't sound totally negative, I'll start by saying it's quite well observed in some ways, with a good eye for the ways in which girls can be nasty to one another. It also has the occasional good one-liner. The cast aren't bad. Jaime Pressly's actually pretty good. It's nice to have a female-centric comedy, dealing with working class and middle class women again. Oh! And it's good to see the boxer guy from The Wire getting work again.

But that's as kind as I can be, because this is the kind of show that makes you despair for the human soul and the descent of society into the pits of sociopathic misanthropy necessary for a show like this to air on the most popular network television channel in the US. Or for there to be enough despicable human beings around to make up a studio audience prepared to laugh at the jokes.

It's nasty, mean-spirited bile filled with eminently hatable characters of a variety of genders and ages that's essentially prepping its viewers with new ways to make the lives of their fellow men and women worse and more unbearable. You can't sympathise with anyone. You don't care about anyone. In fact, you'll hate everyone, even the mothers, who despite the writers' apparent best efforts to make likeable victims, are two parts spineless to one part mean girl. And the thought of another multi-action comedy based entirely around who gets to say the next nastiest put-down fills me with despair for the imagination of TV professionals.

Don't watch it. Instead, salt the earth around Fox Studios so nothing may grow near it.

And then watch Suburgatory instead. That's a nice, clever, well written show whose writers should be rewarded with even more viewers.

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