Archive for Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Dolls’ show not prime family fare

March 6, 2007

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It's never polite to hate something on sight. But in the case of "Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll" (8 p.m., CW), I will gladly make an exception.

For the blissfully uninformed, the Pussycat Dolls are another one of many manufactured pop bands that performs bland, mediocre music with suggestive lyrics. Just in case you're not clever enough to decipher the meaning of their songs (one of their most popular songs celebrates group sex), the "Dolls" cavort like burlesque showgirls. In fact, some of them were burlesque showgirls.

And now the CW wants your daughters to be just like them!

In another era, the Pussycat Dolls would have made perfectly appropriate entertainment at a nightclub or gentleman's club, where their come-hither harlotry would find an appreciative audience. But this is broadcast television.

What's particularly sad is that this "Doll" fiasco airs right after "Gilmore Girls," a show that attracts a family audience, most notably a mother-daughter audience, with a story that puts a premium on wit. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that most of the audience for the "Gilmore Girls" is going to despise "Dolls."

"Dolls" represents just another example of the dreary and sleazy Vegas-ification of television and popular culture. As someone who dutifully lists the plots of every network show, I'm no longer surprised by the numbing regularity of stories about bachelor parties, lap dances, strip clubs, massage parlors and prostitutes. And I'm talking just about the sitcoms. That's not including the regular drumbeat of homicidal sadomasochism offered on shows like "CSI" and "Law & Order: SVU."

I am not a moralist. Nor am I a censor. But I am a critic and a human being, and it is hard to not be repulsed when deviant and sleazy become the norm.

Contrast the degrading message of "Dolls" with that of "American Idol." Although that show is not without its glitz and sizzle, it still celebrates young men and women of all shapes and sizes for their talents and not their gyrating hips. And it draws an audience of all ages in numbers exceeding 30 million. If you create family entertainment, people will find it.

¢ Dave Matthews guest stars on "House" (8 p.m., Fox) as a brain-damaged patient whose head trauma triggered a sudden piano virtuosity. Look for Kurtwood Smith (the dad on "That '70s Show") in a serious turn as the patient's father, confronted with a difficult decision concerning his son's treatment.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ There's no truth to the rumor that "Dateline" (7 p.m., NBC) is changing its name to "That Predator Show!"

¢ The top eight guys compete on "American Idol" (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Three generations of "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., CW) take a road trip.

¢ The squad's peculiar rescue mission hits a snag on "The Unit" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ "Dirty Jobs" (8 p.m., Discovery) looks at the less-than-glamorous side of wine making.

¢ Scheduled on "Primetime" (8 p.m., ABC): outsiders.

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