I Hate My Teenage daughter aired from November 2011 until ? on FOX.
I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER is a new multi-camera family comedy starring Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran as single moms, best friends - and former nerds - who fear their privileged and overly indulged daughters are turning out just like the mean girls who picked on them in high school.
ANNIE (Pressly), who was raised in an ultra-strict, über-religious household where she had little-to-no freedom, pretty much allows her daughter, SOPHIE (Kristi Lauren), to do whatever she wants. Annie's best friend NIKKI (Finneran), once an unpopular, overweight social pariah, is now a pretty Southern belle who also allows her daughter, MACKENZIE (Aisha Dee), to do as she pleases.
The moms have given the girls everything they've asked for and everything they never had: clothes, money and self-esteem. The unintended consequence is that they have created two mean girls just like the ones who tortured them years ago.
The series also stars Eric Sheffer Stevens as Annie's ex-husband MATT, who wants to be a good parent, but doesn't know what that even means; Kevin Rahm as Matt's brother JACK, a father figure to Sophie whose meddling would annoy Annie more if she didn't have such a crush on him; and Chad L. Coleman as GARY, Nikki's ex-husband, who also tries to help raise his challenging daughter, but the couple's complicated relationship often makes his involvement more difficult.
As their daughters begin to experience their first high school dances and other life-changing teen events, Annie and Nikki are often reminded of their own tortured adolescent years. But when Sophie and Mackenzie's mean-girl antics cross the line, the moms quickly realize that they must, for the first time, dole out some real punishment and fix what is broken. They have no idea how to do that, but they do know one thing: They can't do it without each other.
I HATE MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER is produced by Bonanza Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television. Sherry Bilsing-Graham ("The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Friends") and Ellen Kreamer ("The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Friends") are executive producers. The series is written by Bilsing-Graham and Kreamer. Andy Ackerman ("Seinfeld," "The New Adventures of Old Christine") executive-produced and directed the pilot.
A Review from Variety
Posted: Mon., Nov. 28, 2011, 4:00am PT
I Hate My Teenage Daughter
(Series -- Fox, Wed. Nov. 30, 9:30 p.m.)
By Brian Lowry
Filmed in Los Angeles by Gavin & Roxie Prods. in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Sherry Bilsing-Graham, Ellen Kreamer; producer, Lisa Helfrich Jackson; director, Andy Ackerman; writers, Bilsing-Graham, Kreamer.
Annie Watson - Jaime Pressly
Nikki Miller - Katie Finneran
Sophie - Kristi Lauren
Mackenzie - Aisha Dee
Matt - Eric Sheffer Stevens
Jack - Kevin Rahm
Gary - Chad L. Coleman
Memo to Fox: A series likely to be slapped around by critics probably ought not to lead with its chin by using "hate" in the title. But hey, live and learn, which is more charitable than what can be said about the divorced moms in "I Hate My Teenage Daughter," whose painful high-school memories are exacerbated by raising beautiful "mean girl" daughters. Having seen two episodes, a premise that might harbor feature potential plays like an irritating whine -- and ought to test the good will of its "X Factor" lead-in.
"Why are they so mean to us?" protest moms Annie (played by "My Name Is Earl's" Jaime Pressly) and Nikki (Katie Finneran)about their 14-year-old divas, Sophie (Kristi Lauren) and Mackenzie (Aisha Dee), respectively.
Both dads are also still in the picture, with Nikki newly divorced from Gary ("The Wire's" Chad L. Coleman) and Annie having long since split from band member Matt (Eric Sheffer Stevens), who has a bad case of Peter Pan syndrome. Still, her real secret crush is on his brother Jack ("Desperate Housewives'" Kevin Rahm), and within their interplay actually resides the germ of hope for a better show.
As is, "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" derives the lion's share of its comedy from Pressly's boundless energy and the amusing aspects of her character's back story -- having been raised under such a strict religious upbringing, we're told, she "dressed like a sister wife" or a character from "Little House on the Prairie." At least that offers some explanation why the otherwise-lovely mom is so eager to live vicariously through her daughter, whose attendance (or not) at a school dance after misbehaving provides the premiere's wispy plot line.
Created by Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer, the series actually possesses reality-based underpinnings in parents' confusion dealing with today's sexualized, multitasking teens, as Annie labors to keep Sophie from going to school resembling a call girl. By contrast, Nikki is so desperate for her daughter's approval she can barely mount any resistance.
That foundation, however, pretty much crumbles amid the broad tone, constant squabbling and improbabilities, such as having all the exes and kids hang out together. Nor does the show fully embrace the potential in its premise -- the girls as modern-day "bad seeds" -- apparently so it can fall back on limp snippets of sentiment.
"I'm so bored!" Mackenzie whines in the second half-hour, while being forced to participate in an interminable family game night.
Out of the mouths of babes.
Camera, Patti Lee; production designer, Glenda Rovello; editor, Pat Barnett; music, Matter; casting, Bonnie Zane, Gayle Pillsbury. 30 MIN.
A Review from The New York Times
Raising a Teenager? What’s Not to Hate?
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
Published: November 29, 2011
“Parenting” is one of those words, like “veggie,” that worm their way into common parlance on the back of infectious social preoccupations. We are a nation obsessed with how to raise children and how to eat, perhaps because we’ve become so bad at both.
The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage discourages the use of the word parenting. (“Dictionaries accept the term, but it is social service jargon,” is how the rule book puts it. “When possible, use rearing children or parenthood or being a parent instead.”) Yet despite that stern warning, it creeps in. Parenting can be found only twice in The Times throughout the 1950s. In the 1990s it shows up almost 2,000 times, though in fairness, often in letters to the editor or articles in the defunct weekly Westchester section.
The unquenchable fascination with “parenting” helps explain why NBC has a series called “Parenthood,” and why so many comedies focus not on children, but on the crushing difficulty of raising them. “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” a Fox comedy making its debut on Wednesday, is the latest, a look at two divorced mothers in Texas who are so desperate to be liked by their 14-year-olds that they are bullied in their own homes.
Of course, the notion of a parent as an authority figure along the lines of “Father Knows Best” drained away decades ago, replaced by doofus dads like Homer Simpson and Ray Romano on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” or messed-up moms like Roseanne. Nowadays comedies are less interested in mocking the inept parent than in sending up the extreme and silly lengths mothers and fathers go to to be overprotective of their children.
And there is a babying boom on television. NBC this season introduced “Up All Night,” which stars Will Arnett and Christina Applegate as hard-partying spouses forced to grow up when their first baby is born. And there are plenty of other shows about child rearing that are beyond their first seasons, including “Raising Hope,” “Modern Family” and “The Middle.”
The novelty of “Teenage Daughter” is that it doesn’t dwell on the manic perfectionism of mothers like Claire Dunphy of “Modern Family” or the blond P.T.A. moms on “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” Nor, regrettably, does it explore maternal heedlessness and the kind of self-absorbed neglect that made the heroines of the British comedy “Absolutely Fabulous” so irresistible. (On that show the Champagne-swilling hedonists Patsy and Edina referred to Edina’s bookish, reproving child as “the bitch daughter.”)
American television is more squeamish about finding the humor in parental laxity and indifference; even “Roseanne” made a point of showing the loving mother beneath the barbs.
“Teenage Daughter” is a sitcom about failing your children by clumsily trying too hard. It should be funnier, but aptly enough, the pilot fails by also clumsily trying too hard, pushing what should be lighthearted portraits of insecure, inadequate mothers into grotesque caricatures.
Jaime Pressly (“My Name Is Earl”) plays Annie, still traumatized by her experience as a high school outcast who was shunned at school because her fundamentalist Christian mother raised her too strictly. (She wasn’t allowed to watch television, and her church group picketed “Dirty Dancing.”)
Nikki (Katie Finneran) is Annie’s best friend, who in turn was an overweight pariah as a teenager. The two women are so intent on ensuring that their own daughters are popular that they have turned them into the exact kind of spoiled, entitled mean girls who tormented them in high school
Ms. Pressly was very funny as a heartless, self-centered hussy of an ex-wife on “My Name Is Earl” and here has a harder time as a sympathetic, well-meaning divorced woman who works in a coffee shop while her ex-husband, a struggling rock musician, roams.
Ms. Finneran has charm as an insecure loser, but it gets lost in too many compulsive-eating jokes. Nikki overeats whenever she is upset, at one point devouring an entire fruit pie with her hands. The second episode is not as bad as the pilot, which means that there’s a chance for improvement.
“Up All Night” got off to a sleepy start but has steadily gotten better, mostly because the show’s attention has wisely shifted away from the nursery to the workplace, where Maya Rudolph holds court as a big baby of a daytime talk show host.
There’s nothing wrong with hating children, and teenagers all but ask for it. “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” backfires by hating the mothers instead: without finesse, making fun of a woman’s self-hatred can look like a lot like misogyny.
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
Nov 30 2011 10:18 PM ET
'I Hate My Teenage Daughter' premiere review: Did any of you love these daughters and their mothers?
by Ken Tucker
The title I Hate My Teenage Daughter gets it wrong: It should be called I Fear My Teenage Daughter. This rabbit-y sitcom, which premiered on Wednesday night after The X Factor, doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do: ridicule middle-aged moms, champion them, or dump on teenage girls.
Jamie Pressly and Katie Finneran, both extremely skilled comic actors, may have thought they could find something interesting in material that so openly addressed the tensions between mothers and daughters, but they’ve been sabotaged by the writing, which wimps out in favor of sentimentality and a weird hostility toward the mothers in particular. Finneran’s Nikki is said to have suffered from a poor self-image as an adolescent who struggled with her weight — or as the show so artfully had her hiss, “I did not eat my cat!”
Nicki and Pressly’s Annie are divorced best friends with pasts that have left them insecure and reliant upon each other. Now they each have a 14-year-old daughter who takes advantage of the mothers’ weaknesses, and use the skills of a torturer to get what they want (which the show would have us believe is the right to dress revealingly and communicate chiefly by text messaging). The moms quail at the first sign of the daughters’ hostility. (“Honey, please don’t be mad at me!”)
And the daughters, played by Kristi Lauren and Aisha Dee, were interchangeable ciphers, cruel one moment and gloppily sentimental the next. I know, I’ve had teenaged daughters, I know those adolescent extremes are “true”; it’s just that here, they weren’t “funny.” These girls are the kinds of characters that turn off adolescent viewers and who make adults watching the true haters — they just yell at the TV screen that what these kids need is someone to take away their Blackberrys and force them to get part-time jobs.
This is less the stuff of a sitcom than of a poignant segment on MTV’s True Life: “Our Mothers Are Neurotic.” Annie and Nikki are grasping and needy in distinctive ways; unfortunately, daughters Sophie and Mackenzie are nonstop obnoxious. I’d respect the show more if the two episodes I’ve seen didn’t wrap up with treacly happy endings that betray the essential grittiness of the concept: This could have finally been the Fox sitcom that carried on the vulgar-realist tone of Married… With Children. Should I Hate last long enough, it may yet turn that quality corner — I mean, Pressly is very sharp in her line delivery, and Finneran is a deserved star in the New York theater world — but the title and the general unpleasantness of the pilot worked against it.
What’d you think? “Hate” is probably too strong a word, but did you dislike or enjoy this thing?
Critic's Corner Wednesday: 'I Hate My Teenage Daughter'
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
Nikki (Katie Finneran) and Annie (Jaime Pressly) discuss their daughters in the premiere of 'I Hate My Teenage Daughter.'
How can you combine Jaime Pressly, an Emmy winner for My Name Is Earl, and Katie Finneran, a dual Tony winner responsible for two of the funniest Broadway performances ever, and end up with a show as thuddingly unfunny as Fox's I Hate My Teenage Daughter (* out of four, tonight, 9:30 ET/PT)?
Yet here they are, fighting a losing battle against a terrible idea, an even worse script and a bland-to-bad supporting cast.
Hate casts Pressly and Finneran as former high school outcasts raising two daughters who have turned into the kind of mean girls who used to torment them. They don't really hate their daughters — but they do fear them.
The concept might work, perhaps, if the girls were difficult but essentially sweet (think Haley on Modern Family), or if they were truly, comically irredeemably awfu
What won't work is to swivel between both approaches, with a supporting cast that can't carry off either one.
You're left with a show mothers and daughters can both hate. Think of it as Fox's attempt to bring families together for the holidays
A Review from The LA Times
Television review: 'I Hate My Teenage Daughter' on Fox
Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran are single moms trying to save their daughters from high school horrors in the limited Fox sitcom.
Although it follows one of the roads most taken by family sitcoms — beleaguered single parents, horrible kids — Fox's "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" asks a surprisingly significant question: What happens when people raise their children in a manner that is essentially an attempt to re-parent themselves?
It's a smart and relevant premise, given that so many parents of teenagers today came of age during a time of social revelation, in which previously taboo issues, including addiction, abuse and sexual diversity, were discussed in a way that one hopes makes life easier for each subsequent generation. How those raised in dysfunctional homes create a healthier model for parenting is a topic rife with both comedy and pathos.
But the social pendulum being what it is, attention has too often swung from truth-telling and self-knowledge to whining and self-centeredness: Throw in a dose of sexism and you get the new age of personal enlightenment as defined by women who eat too much or spend too much and then sob to their BFFs about their lack of self-esteem.
Which is where, alas, much of "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" seems to feel the most comfortable.
With a brilliance that is, given the context, heartbreaking to behold, Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran play Annie and Nikki, two single moms attempting to save their daughters from the horrors of their own high school years. Annie was raised in a household so religiously conservative that she was not allowed to listen to music or watch television, and Nikki was the overweight and unattractive product of too much criticism.
Their daughters, by contrast, are pretty and popular, and because we live in a Tina Fey post-Mean Girls world, exquisitely awful. Sophie (Kristi Lauren) belongs to Annie, MacKenzie (Aisha Dee) to Nikki and two episodes in, that's really all I can tell you — they are stylish, mean and seem to have no other interest save back-talk and texting.
There are fathers, of course — Annie's ex Matt (Eric Sheffer Stevens) is a scruffy musician, Nikki's Gary (Chad Coleman) a grumpy golf pro — but as men on a sitcom in 2011, they are, by definition, incapable of any meaningful action beyond nailing a one-liner. (Seriously guys, isn't it time for organized protest?)
So it's all the mothers' fault that the girls are so awful, which isn't just a depressingly limited view of parenting — either your kids are outcast and miserable or self-confident and horrible — but a depressingly limited view of comedy as well. Having come up with an intriguing premise, co-creators Sherry Bilsing-Graham ("The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Friends") and Ellen Kreamer ("The New Adventures of Old Christine,") are either too timid or too hamstrung by network expectations to execute it. Instead they work the depleted field of female insecurity and self-doubt, making Annie and Nikki stunted adolescents blatantly trying to relive their teen years through their more socially assured daughters.
There are laughs to be had in "I Hate My Teenage Daughter," mainly because Pressly and Finneran are so darn good at what they do. Pressly has a bit more to work with, cracking wise about her religious-nut upbringing yet still sending little prayers heavenward. Finneran is saddled with more criminally predictable issues — at one point, she eats an entire pie with her hands.
The fact that she makes her character more than occasionally very funny may be worth an Emmy nod, or the television academy's equivalent of a Purple Heart.
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