Fox's I Hate My Teenage Daughter arrives last and least
11/29/11 03:48 PM
Premiering: Wednesday, Nov. 30th at 8:30 p.m. (central) on Fox
Starring Jaime Pressly, Katie Finneran, Kristi Lauren, Aisha Dee, Chad L. Coleman, Eric Sheffer Stevens, Kevin Rahm
Produced by: Sherry Bilsing-Graham, Ellen Plummer Kreamer
By ED BARK
If only I Hate My Teenage Daughter would get rid of its two teenage daughters.
The bedeviled moms can be bawdy fun on occasion in this broad Fox sitcom. But their unctuous, obnoxious 14-year-olds basically ruin every scene they're in.
I guess that's why the two divorced women who brought them into this world are oftentimes "hating" on them. But the kids' mere presence is too high a price to pay for the premise of this last new broadcast network series of the fall season. Better to call the whole thing off than put a pair of enabling parents at the mercy of two off-putting little connivers. Aren't all those Kardashians way more than enough?
Perhaps setting a modern-day sitcom record, the word "bitch" comes into play less than 10 seconds from the start of the show, which will be following Wednesday's 90-minute edition of The X Factor. It's a mother's reference to her daughter. Nice.
Jamie Presley of My Name is Earl fame and Katie Finneran play the helpless moms, Annie and Nikki. Both were high school outcasts who want better for their daughters. But Sophie and MacKenzie (Kristi Lauren, Aisha Dee) are the types of kids upon whom you'd wish the heartbreak of psoriasis. Or at the very least, big ol' giant permanent zits on the tips of their self-important noses.
Also part of this mix are Annie's ex-, a vagabond rock band leader named Matt (Eric Sheffer Stevens); and Nikki's former hubby, Gary (Chad L. Coleman), who plays golf for a living. Matt has a sharp-dressed, clean-cut brother named Jack (Kevin Rahm), on whom Annie has a crush.
The first episode mostly revolves around the girls' first high school dance -- and their mothers' intention to attend as well. But Sophie and MacKenzie get grounded (couldn't they just be kept out of sight in an attic?) after it's learned that they locked a wheelchair-bound boy in the girls' bathroom and left him there for hours.
They proceed to make up a reason for their action -- namely that the kid hates blacks. Let's just say that the real truth of the matter makes Sophie and MacKenzie almost seem like members of the Ku Klux Klan. But oh well.
Presley and Finneran otherwise are pretty good together, even if their characters are drawn up as caricatures. Finneran's Nikki was a 300-pounder in high school and remains a compulsive eater who wolfs down pie with her bare hands. Presley's Annie was raised by bible belters who outfitted her in dowdy homemade clothes and didn't let her watch TV. So she's still clueless about the Olsen twins -- and Little House on the Prairie, too.
Nikki laments that her own first high school dance was "the worst night of my life."
"Oh please," Annie shoots back. "That's what you said two nights ago when your Jeggings split open at the PTA meetin'." Pause, one-two. "And by the way, you should wear underwear to a PTA meetin'."
The series is nominally set in Austin, TX, which is mentioned in passing during next week's second episode. Otherwise you'd never know -- and Austin would probably just as soon you didn't.
The teenagers of course do get to go to the high school dance after both moms cave in. Then they learn the truth about the wheelchair incident, prompting Annie to again state the obvious: "We have awful, terrible daughters."
That they do, but there could still be a workable series here. Finneran definitely has some comic flair and Pressly already has proven herself in Earl. So why not just dump the two teens, who perhaps could be eaten by wolves. Then re-title the series I Hate My Life and let the two grownups hit the road in a wheezy Winnebago. You never know until you try.
GRADE: C-minus as is