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Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2012

‘Nannies’ live life of faux luxury

July 11, 2012

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The new documentary series “Beverly Hills Nannies” (8 p.m., ABC Family) offers its young viewers the vicarious “thrill” of watching people not that much older than them work as highly paid baby sitters for the rich and semi-famous. Like most series set in the nouveau riche quarters of California, it’s hard to see if this is meant as tragedy, parody or farce.

One of the first nannies we meet brags about having done her job for almost seven years, which is a long time to be a baby sitter — even for the stars. And it’s easy to be less than impressed by the grandeur of her workplace. As on the “Real Housewives” series, the decor is more about quantity than quality. The nanny extols her boss’s bed as amazing: “Like two king-sized beds pushed together!”

Instead of postponing their careers to have what we used to call “a life,” these young people choose to dwell in the lap of ersatz luxury. For all the zircon splendor of the nannies’ surroundings, they’re still answering to an adult and bound by chores. In essence, they’re not terribly removed from the fate of many 20-somethings who are fresh out of college with too many loans and too few prospects — living with their parents.

This puts “Nannies” in a league with HBO’s acclaimed new series “Girls,” a comedy that takes a bleaker view of the post-collegiate experience. But the two shows feature young adults who desire to live far beyond their means and station in life. “Girls” creator Lena Dunham’s own story put a personal exclamation point under her generation’s shared plight. She had produced a movie and secured a deal with HBO before summoning the courage to move out of her parents’ house.

• The addictive series “Damages” (8 p.m., Audience Network, Direct TV) returns for its fifth and final season. Once again, it can only be seen by subscribers of the Direct TV Satellite service. Ryan Phillippe, Jenna Elfman and John Hannah join series regulars Glenn Close and Rose Byrne.

Tonight’s other highlights

• “Lombardi” (6 p.m., HBO) offers a warts-and-all profile of the Green Bay Packers coach.

• “Dogs in the City” (7 p.m., CBS) ends its first summer season.

• Two hours of competition on “So You Think You Can Dance” (7 p.m., Fox).

• A father becomes a suspect on “Final Witness” (9 p.m., ABC).

• “Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman” (9 p.m., Science) ponders the revival of the dead.

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