• Thu, Dec 1 2011

It’s Hard To Like I Hate My Teenage Daughter

Here’s what I remember about being a teenage girl: crying, bad hair, and being outlandishly rude to my mother. I slammed doors, I gave her the finger, I said “GOD, Mom” like a damn featured player on Party of Five. When we recently talked about those days, my mom admitted that “while I’ve always loved you, there were a few years there where I didn’t like you very much.” All this to say: I think there’s potential in the idea of a show titled I Hate My Teenage Daughter. Unfortunately, none of that potential is present in the actual show I Hate My Teenage Daughter.

The show follows Annie (Jamie Pressley) and Nikki (Katie Finneran), two moms who were outcasts in high school (I’m so sure, Jamie Pressley) dealing with parenting two popular teenage girls. Again, this is not a bad concept for a show. The execution on the other hand: woof.

Pressley and Finneran are both funny ladies, but the weak jokes here (50% of which revolve around the fact that Nikki used to be fat and still loves eating LOL) mean both of them are forced to become manic in their delivery, desperately trying to land unlandable lines like “They’re speaking French! Or maybe Spanish. It wasn’t English.”

The cast is, all around, doing their best with bad material (Chad Coleman aka Cutty from The Wire, we wish better for you!), but only Wendi McLendon-Covey, as Nikki’s high school tormenter turned principal of her daughter’s school, succeeds in landing them.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a show that uses the word “bitch” within 15 seconds of starting, I Hate My Teenage Daughter feels more than a little sexist. It’s flat-out stated that the reason the daughters are so obnoxious is that the moms are too permissive. The dads aren’t entirely let off the hook, but the show doesn’t seem to judge them anywhere near as harshly as it does the moms. As for the daughters, they’re given zero point zero doses of personality, other than being sort of generically unpleasant. “Sort of generically unpleasant” is, come to think of it, probably the best way to describe I Hate My Teenage Daughter itself.

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