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Archive for Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Reality show a real brat race

August 24, 2005

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"Kicked Out" (9 p.m., Family) features funny scenes of parents throwing a party to celebrate the eviction of their lazy 24-year-old son. This giddy moment should be reason enough to admire this reality show, but "Kicked Out" has too many contrived and troubling elements to earn much praise.

During the course of two months, "Kicked Out" will showcase eight sets of fed-up parents as they surprise their uninspired offspring with a little tough love. In each episode, they pack up their kids' things and send them off to Spartan accommodations where they will have to cook, clean and shop for themselves, and above all, get up off their couches and find a job.

The first "Kicked Out" concerns a seemingly affluent family from Long Beach, Calif. Venida and Walter oust their spoiled son Vernon, but still give him access to their SUV and send him off with a check for $1,500 in pin money. Vernon, a fussy young man who pines to be a pocketbook designer, scoffs at this paltry sum as something he could blow through in a matter of days. He also sneers at a care package of microwavable meals, tossing them to the floor and dismissing them as "off-brand."

In a just universe - or at least in a more entertaining program - young Vernon would be consigned to toiling in a coalmine and be shown craving those delicious generic morsels he once disdained. But this is television, where persnickety consumer habits among a young demographic are considered virtuous.

Within moments of moving out, Vernon is contacted by a hip boutique that is searching for new pocketbook designers. This happens just after we see Vernon's mother pulling some strings with the posh shop. By episode's end, Vernon is lavished with praise for his creations and embarks on a brilliant career.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ The owners of 28 feet compete on a two-hour helping of "So You Think You Can Dance" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Mobile homes get stylish makeovers on three episodes of "Trailer Fabulous" (8 p.m., MTV).

¢ Mark-Paul Gosselaar guest stars as an embedded American journalist on "Over There" (9 p.m., FX).

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