Babies on TV serve as props for their parent's character development. On reality TV, babies are dreams come true and cute fashion accessories (for celebrity moms) or evidence of bad behavior (teen moms). On Dexter, toddler Harrison exists solely as a plot device to anchor daddy Dexter to the non-sociopathic world, and on Up All Night, baby Amy helps her hard-partying parents embrace adulthood. So, who exactly is doing the parenting here? Will the real parents please stand up?
Something is happening over at Bravo. Previously, its reality TV programming was all about rich, gaudy, ambitious, tanned, shit-talking, table-throwing, materialistic socialites. Now, these same people have babies.
"I want to go to there." This Liz Lemon quote kept echoing inside my head while watching three-fourths of NBC's Thursday comedy block this week. Almost all the shows ventured out of familiar settings, and as a result we were treated to a housewarming party, a camping trip (with candy! and puppies!), and a garden party. And then we even witnessed a marriage proposal at the end of the night. All in all, an eventful evening. Let's dig right in!
During season six of The Office, Pam delivered her baby girl in a two-part episode appropriately deemed "The Delivery." This episode was notable for handling the issue of control thoroughly and with heart.
This week on NBC's drama Parenthood, main character Kristina Braverman (played by Monica Potter) gave birth. The episode was so exactly a precise enactment of pop culture's "childbirth formula" I wrote about earlier that I was a little creeped out. It also made me think about something else, a trope I'll call Childbirth as a Male Bonding Experience.
This is a movie. This is television. This is the formula:
Jane is going about her business when her water breaks. The time has come! Ready the troops! Jane calls husband or big sister or mom or best friend. "We'll meet you at the hospital! Go Go Go!" If husband is present: "Where are the bags?! WE FORGOT TO PACK THE BAGS!"
For this installment of TNL, I've decided to focus on the most beloved new show of the fall season. That's right, Whitney. Since NBC has chosen to give it a full season pickup, I think its time to accept the show is here to stay until May. So before I get to the other recaps from last night, allow me to offer a few suggestions for how to make Whitney worthy of the laughter generated by its studio audience.
I really thought I would like NBC's new comedy series, Up All Night, which stars Christina Applegate (Reagan Brinkley) and Will Arnett (Chris Brinkley) as a married couple whose fun-filled, alcohol-drenched lives are interrupted by the birth of their daughter Amy. Reagan is the producer of Ava, an Oprah-esque talk show starring her best friend (played by Maya Rudolph), and Chris quits his job as a lawyer to be a stay-at-home dad. The premise led me to believe that a nuanced portrayal of the work/life balance might emerge. I also hoped the show might be funny.
Those of you who've seen both AMC's Mad Men and NBC's soon-to-be-cancelledThe Playboy Club have probably noticed a similarity between the two shows. No, it's not the guy on The Playboy Club who's doing his best Don Draper impression, it's Naturi Naughton, America's favorite "chocolate" Playboy bunny (yes, she is referred to as a chocolate bunny in both shows. Ugh).
What time is it? Time to get to the bottom of what happened between Adventure Time's Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen! Before I lose anyone who isn't a fan of this irreverent, Cartoon Network show, a recent episode alluded to a complex, queer relationship between two of the older, female characters on the show. But you know what happens when complex, queer relationships make their way to mainstream television...