By Curt Wagner
2:32 PM CST, November 29, 2011
Apparently the programmers at Fox think American viewers are still buzzing in a tryptophan-fueled, post-Thanksgiving feast euphoria.
What other reason do they have to subject us to “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” (8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Fox; 1 star) so late in the Fall TV season?
Oh yeah, because they wanted to bury this turkey for as long as they possibly could. Sad to say, another round of Black Friday madness would deliver more laughs than this brainless new sitcom.
Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran are wasted as single moms and besties who are each raising a 14-year-old daughter who are also best friends. Annie (Pressly) and Nikki (Finneran), who were unpopular in high school, have given their daughters the world in order to make them confident (and popular). They’ve also made them spoiled brats.
Annie, we’re told over and over again, was raised in an overly religious household where she “lived in military lockdown and dressed like a character from 'Little House on the Prairie.’” She tries to put limits on daughter Sophie (Kristi Lauren), but usually gives in at the first sign of protest.
Nikki was overweight—there’s a running gag about how her classmates teased her that she ate one of her cats—and suffered from alopecia as a teen. Still insecure, she wants to be pals with mean girl Mackenzie (Aisha Dee), so she lets her daughter get away with anything.
Annie’s ex, Matt (Eric Sheffer Stevens), and Nikki’s ex, Gary (Chad L. Coleman), aren’t any better at parenting—so the women can count on little help from them. I’m not quite sure why Jack (Kevin Rahm), Annie’s former brother-in-law, is still in the picture.
Annie and Nikki are the only characters given any definitive personalities, which are infuriating because their desperation to please their daughters has made them both pathetic wimps. (I’m currently visiting my parents on vacation, and my mother said to me the other day, “I can still beat your [butt].” That’s not going to happen in this show.)
The show’s creators have the germ of a good idea here. A decent writer could mine plenty of jokes out of the relationship between bratty teens and their indulgent parents. (See “Modern Family,” “The Middle,” “Suburgatory” and those annoying MTV reality shows.)
Unfortunately, the writers of “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” trot out retread jokes about skimpy clothes, Facebook and cell phones. And I’m sorry; an overly active laugh track is not going to make these lines any funnier.
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