Deep breath... It's time to review one of the fall's most controversial new shows, a weekly hour-long series where kids are allowed to create a world unencumbered by adult supervision, one where they're free to engage in all kinds of dangerous behavior, all in the name of televised entertainment.To read the full thing (which has some mild spoilers for the pilot), click here.
No, not CBS' "Kid Nation," in which 40 kids are let loose in an old movie ghost town set, and which has been plagued all summer with accusations of child endangerment and circumvention of child labor laws. CBS didn't send that out for review (the sort of tactic movie studios use with Rob Schneider movies) and, besides, I expect the actual version that airs will, like "Wife Swap" and the "Survivor" season divided by race before it, turn out to be far less scandalous than all the advance hype would suggest.
No, I'm talking about "Gossip Girl" (9 p.m., Ch. 11), the new teen soap adapted from Cecily von Ziegesar's best-selling series of young adult novels about privileged teens attending a Manhattan prep school. None of the cast members accidentally drank bleach, and none of the actors' parents were asked to sign confidentiality clauses with $10 million dollar penalties (two more charges levied at "Kid Nation"). But the show takes place in a setting where the teen characters are the alpha and the omega, the rulers of their own destiny. They do what they want, whenever they want -- the pilot episode features underage drinking, drug use and sex -- and the adult characters are so irrelevant they may as well be voiced by trombones like in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Today's column was written while I had W.G. Snuffy Walden's "thirtysomething" theme on a constant loop on my iPod, just to remind me of my age. An excerpt: