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Friday, April 19, 2013

TV Review: Bet On Your Baby

There's no surer sign of the apocalypse than selling your children into slavery.



This is actually the title of a show on network TV.


Okay, this isn't the same as slavery, but woo doggie, it's close.

Bet On Your Baby combines the thrill of watching toddlers playing, with the uncomfortable spectacle of parents betting on their children. There's no chance of these parents ever blaming their children for losing money for college because they couldn't sit still.

Riiiiight.

The pattern is this: we meet an adorable child around 3-4 years old. Then we meet the parents, who inevitably are high energy and laugh at the horrible puns written for the host Melissa Peterman. Next, they learn what challenge their baby will face. The parents choose which of them will help their child, and which will bet on what the baby will do. Peterman lastly provides some kind of prop for the parent going into the "Baby Dome".

A paragon of self control:
Let's elect this kid?
Here's an example: a little boy baby is given a ball by his father. The boy has to hold the ball for one minute after the dad leaves the 'Dome. In the meantime, mom bets $5000 on whether baby boy can do it. To be fair, she's not betting her own money, she's betting the show's money. She bets against the dad and her son. And there's some chance this might work out, as the producers drive in a remote control truck with a cupcake on it. Our young man admirably manages to hold until the minute passes. The parents lose the $5000. And we cut back as baby boy stuffs his face with remote truck cupcake.

Isn't baby gluttony funny? I bet he'll never have to explain that to his date when he grows up.

No, honey, I don't know why I went
into professional cake shipping.
I don't know who to insult the most here. Certainly not the children. They don't know any better. Is it the parents, or the producers? Ultimately, it's a tie. Producers trying to figure out a way to exploit children and their parents' desperation to save for college, while the parents are more than happy to let their children be exploited.

This show gets compared to Kids Say the Darndest Things, which isn't totally unfair, but that show at least gives the kids a chance to defend themselves. It also lacks the factor of lying to children. In each challenge where a parent is in the Dome, it seems like they promise the kid if they follow the instructions, they will get to do something later that is never going to happen.

Is it evil? I don't know. I guess it's all in good fun. But not all in good entertainment.

Bet On Your Baby
Saturday, 8pm
ABC

2 out of 10 child labor violations

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