6.13.2006

Honey, We're Condemning Our Kids to Mulletts...

Monday Night--'tis the night of forbidden fruit. All Reality T.V. All the Time....
Mondays I am solo parent as Hubs teaches an evening class. This means complete command of remote control after Boyo's bedtime. This means watching all the utter shite Hubs cannot stomach.

Oh, he used to show he cared. He used to watch Reality T.V. with me. But somewhere around 2004 where our weekly line up consisted of American Idol, Amazing Race, The Mole (whatever happened to The Mole? It was awesome shit) Survivor, Trading Spaces (American and UK version) What Not to Wear (American and UK version) Queer Eye for the Straight Guy...(American version, not UK, which is rubbish) Well, he lost his shit and insisted we watch high-minded drivel like Scrubs, The Family Guy, and Arrested Development. Now, he's all like into My Name is Earl and House and Deadwood (humph) so I am royally screwed.

Yes, we could invest in another TV set, so we can watch our own shows without this terrible tension, but we are very conventional in that we like to sit in morbid silence in front of the tube as a couple...

But last night I got to watch Honey We're Killing the Kids. As I watched the trailers of the morbidly obese kids shove pizza in their faces, I was a touch repelled. Maybe I'll watch something else, I thought. But next thing I knew, the show had started and I was lured in with the most morbidly fascinating part of the show--first, they show you a documentary snapshot of just how disgusting this particular family is. Junk for breakfast, lunch and dinner, smoking parents, screaming kids, video-games, bad grammar.... Simply shocking.

The doctor lady then works with her team to "run a series of tests" on the kids, and then bring the parents in for a tough-love conference in her underground lair. (I have NO CLUE where the set design concept for this lair comes from--it's clearly a studio, designed like someone's basement with pipes on the walls and boilers and everything). Here are positioned several enormous flat-screen TVs, each of which has a photo of each Kid-who-is-being-Killed in question. The sorry-ass parents stand quaking in her presence, and are forced to watch the images, "based on their scientific measurements," fast-forward to an image of how the poor kid will look at 40.
"Rocky, Sheila. Our predictions show that if your children continue on their current diet and lifestyle, THIS is what your son will look like at 40....
"Rocky, Sheila. You are killing your kids."
"Gasp!"

What I particularly LOVE about this moment is the dramatic license taken by the graphic artists. Sure, with a diet like that the kid is likely going to be on the pudgy side. But let's make that image a bit more disturbing. Let's throw in a pair of hideous cheap glasses, bad skin, tons of sagging skin, wrinkles, k-mart wardrobe, very bad teeth, and very bad hair (last night, Junior was sporting a shaved "do" with a hint of mullet behind his vast neckless head).

As an audience, we sit for an hour and watch the family go through 3 weeks of relative purgatory. Parents must quit smoking cold turkey; all refined carbs, saturated fats, and SALT (salt!) are banished from the house. Mom must struggle to create meals for her junk-food junky families. First meal of this family--Seafood paella with hefty portions of squid. And while I am a lover of paella, this dish looked RANK and utterly devoid of flavor (no butter, no salt, no wine, no bread...) *I* would fucking rebel. Especially when confronted with the beany, green concoction referred to as "sloppy joes" on Day 2 (BLEGH).

Of course, the formula of the show is to show everyone rebel, and doomed for failure (and BOY are they set up for failure. What's wrong with a bit of weight watchers ice cream or a low-fat fig newton for gawd's sake???). In the second half we see them come around--many more loving, smiling shots of kids hugging their parents, playfully chowing down a carrot, enjoying a brisk walk. Looks like they're gonna make it...

And the finale--parents are returned to the dungeon, stern doctor conveys her progonosis and the flash-forward images are recalibrated. Miraculously, the 40 yr old versions of their kids are transformed from trailer-trash into to groomed, obviously well-educated suave-types. Junior has shirked his Mullet, and now looks rather dashing in his designer-suit. Teeth--much better. Somehow his male-patterned baldness has vanished. His svelter 40yr old self has a thick head of shiny hair and contacts (or perhaps his diet as improved his vision as well as his hair loss. A Miracle!)
Who knew what a bit of squid could do you for you????

Killing the Kids. It is an unadulterated freak-show where we can sit smugly in our middle class homes and think, "well at least we take a walk now and then," and "at least MY son knows what an avocado looks like..." (note to self--create exotic fruit n' veg memory cards for Boyo tomorrow) and "at least we would never let my kid play violent video games/watch teevee for 2 hours straight..." (surreptitiously shoves plethora of Spy Kids/Batman movies under sofa)

Oh, gracious, I remember there are some fresh organic apricots in the fridge, I think I will put some in a bowl and enjoy them as a healthful snack while I watch...

Yeah, it's classist shit. But like a junky, it's shit I cannot get enough of. Honey, I'm Killing my Brain Cells...

15 comments:

macboudica said...

I know what you mean about that show. Despite how rediculous it is, I can't help but watch it, quaking with anticipation along with the trash parents, at the doomed kids at 40. And the food they eat, BLEH! It's all green and slimy--everything is gross! You can't tell me they can't find normal healty food? I guess that would just not be as riveting. Surviving eating that food really is surviving.

Motherhood Uncensored said...

OMG. I was totally watching that last night too. It's quite ridiculous. Like "He'll only live til 60 you fat bastards..." heh.

But really, my fave part - was when she's smoking away and her kid is on the asthma machine gasping for clean air.

LOVELY.

mothergoosemouse said...

Ooooh...I may have to TiVo this.

mamatulip said...

LMAO. I was watching this show last night, too. I went into it thinking I'd hate it and now I'm hooked. Fuckin' hooked, man.

toyfoto said...

I've never seen this show, but, thanks to your detailed description, I feel like I have. Now I can dismiss it without angst.

bubandpie said...

I think maybe I've LIVED this show, like, everytime my mom comes to visit! I have yet to outgrow the idea that being a grown-up means I'm allowed to buy and eat as much junk food as I want. I'm always shocked when I encounter people in my age group who are eating lentil soup and whole-wheat homemade cookies, without their mom there making them. I need to grow up.

Funny post, though - I always feel more happily married when hubby and I are watching the same TV.

Her Bad Mother said...

There is NOTHING like good (bad) reality TV. Soma. Nice.

I didn't know this one. Will have to check it out. Am currently riveted by reality-lite fare like King of Cars (why why why) and Dog Bounty Hunter (why why why). Like watching car crashes. Good times.

Izzy said...

and then bring the parents in for a tough-love conference in her underground lair

I KNOW!!! It's so hokey. They have these fake crates and barrels and stuff down there. WTF is that?

Jenny said...

Ha! I know...how does feeling my son pizza mean that he'll get an earring later? Fuzzy logic there...

Also, come on over, sweetie. I've got tivo on 2 tvs and we can watch America's Next Top Model and Hell's Kitchen all night long.

(PS I miss the Mole too. Anderson Cooper, come back home!)

zeldafitz said...

Thank you so much for explaining that show to me. It kept blipping across my radar--the title that is--and I never stopped to figure it out. It sounds like a food version of Nanny 911. Fun opportunities for smugness!!! Always a recipe to warm a human heart. hey, a chance to feel superior, sign me up!!!

Kevin Charnas said...

oh man...sounds like a total train wreck.
Did you happen to witness the crazy religious woman from the south on that show where they trade Moms (and wives) for a week? She went to a home where they practice buddhism, had pray flags up and tabbled in some astrology and she thought they came straight from THE DEVIL!!!AAAAHHH!!!
Were you fortunate to witness it? I couldn't believe it...I thought, the producers took one look at her and said, 'BINGO! JACKPOT!', 'cause she was an over the top crackpot. it was awesome.

neva said...

so, wait... you don't like "Deadwood"? or "Earl"? or (gasp) "Arrested Development"??? i'm shocked. (seriously, these are actually fabulous shows...well, Arrested Development was before it was cancelled...) as for "Family Guy". sorry. it is drivel. "high-minded" it is not!

hang in there, girlfriend... the next eye-crack will be "Rockstar", which starts next month (i think). it's "Idol" but with edgy talented contestants. and just wait til you see host Dave Navarro shirtless and wrapped in a white fox fur. classic.

killing our brain cells indeed...

SUEB0B said...

I gave you some link love:
http://linkateria.blogspot.com/2006/06/what-day-is-this-only-thursday.html

Elizabeth said...

I've never watched an entire episode of that show, but it does seem to me like they would be doing the family a much bigger favor if they showed them how to eat actual food that people eat. I don't know ANYONE who eats squid. There are so many healthy,tasty foods that the health team could be teaching these families to make.

The other night I watched "The Hills". Have you seen it? It's a spin-off of "Laguna Beach". I couldn't help myself, I had to watch it. OH, and I watched "Hex". LOVE IT! Thank God DirecTV gives us BBC America.

Spider63 said...

Fat kids are sick and they need help. Growing up obese is like a death sentence. Obesity needs to be treated like a serious illness.