Sunday, October 29, 2006

TV: Parental Control

• MTV brings sick and twisted to dating shows.

Genres: Reality, dating
Logistics: MTV, 4:30 p.m. (Central) weekdays, with numerous repeats
Verdict: &&&

Train-wreck television at its best, Parental Control is the first MTV series I have sought out on a regular basis since the soap Undressed and reality stalwart The Real World circa the New Orleans season. This shameless and vicious dating series features a cast of six in each guilty-pleasure episode: Two parents, their son or daughter, the son or daughter's boyfriend or girlfriend whom the parents loathe, and two dates hand picked by the parents to replace him/her (hence the title). Intercut with date footage are scenes of the current boyfriend or girlfriend sitting with the parents, watching each date unfold and trading barbs. Date activities are calculated to lead to shedding of clothes and, when possible, kissing, humping and other physical contact. Back with the parents, the current squeeze dishes an insulting running commentary while the parents dish it right back at him/her, and it's hilarious more often than not. But I hate this show for the way it reduces a current girlfriend to tears as she watches her beau kissing on some skank who wants to steal him away; for the way the show glorifies hotness as the ultimate attribute; for the way it causes adults to behave as immaturely as their libidinous offspring; and for the way it unceremoniously severs a relationship at the end of the show if one of the parents' dates has been chosen, as if it's no more than trash to be swept out the door. And yet, I cannot look away.

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