Thursday, July 3, 2008

"Reality" Television


WB has recently been watching a new "reality" show called Baby Borrowers. The show's premise revolves around 5 young couples (mostly 18) who get to play house on national television. They live in a cookie-cutter subdivision (probably a Hollywood soundstage or maybe Stepford Lane) and they all have minivans. Their first task is to prepare their house (which was given to them, because that always happens in real life) for the real (yes, real) babies they will all receive for three days and three nights. Based on the first 45 minutes of the show, here is our advice to the participants of this "social experiment":
  • If you behave irrationally, your boyfriend will laugh (as will the rest of America). One of the young women, Kelly, had a total meltdown, complete with squealing histrionics, because she had to wear a pregnancy suit (see below). The point of this show, which they all VOLUNTEERED for, is to simulate what starting a family means. An important step in that process: PREGNANCY! But Kelly complained because it made her look fat and she felt stupid. Hey, Kelly: you don't need any help in either department. Your boyfriend laughed because you made an ass out of yourself. And then HE apologized and wore the suit! Hey, boyfriend: do you realize that if you have a baby with this woman, you will be the whipping boy of two individuals?

  • Real babies do not come with manuals. Each couple who graciously (or stupidly) donated their child also gave the young couples a binder of everything they need to do throughout the day and night, down to the hour. Um, we know the childbirth/child raising series What to Expect When... is good, but we are pretty sure it's not indivualized for every single baby.

  • A nanny will not accompany the baby when you bring him/her home from the hospital. WB understands the need to have a professional monitoring the situation at all times but half the time we the viewers see the nannies hovering very close by. How exactly does this teach the young couples about the difficulties of parenthood when much of it comes from the fact that they are going to be on their own and responsible for a tiny human being? Without the doubt, fear, and total responsibility, these teens are really little more than glorified babysitters (and that's being kind. Apologies to all the babysitters out there.)

  • Saying "fuck" in front of a child when you know his mother is watching you on video is not a good idea. Alecia, another young contestant, was clearly frustrated with her little "baby" and it came out: the F-bomb. Well played, Alecia. Little Carson's first word should be "fuck" so that he can establish himself as the badass of the neighborhood at 2. That's a goal all parents dream of for their kids: a stranger teaching their kids how to swear like a sailor. Yes, parents often swear in front of their kids, but it was pretty clear that these parents did not. Sure, their judgment migth be questionable for loaning out their kid in the first but their language is squeaky clean. We were SO surpised that his mom was upset by this. Alecia, however, was enraged that the child's mother decided to call her out on it. So, Alecia just quit. This leads to our final piece of advice....

  • You don't get to quit or take a timeout from parenthood. In fact, you can pretty much kiss at least the next 18 years goodbye. Sure, the breaks will get longer as the child gets older but beyond that, you're pretty much in it for the long haul.
The show is just wrong on so many levels that we are now considering degrees in child psychology because in a few years, at least 5 kids who will need some help—and who knows how many more if any of these clueless contestants decide to breed?

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