review: in the motherhood

I think a better title for this nauseating series, which just premiered on ABC, would have been “Women, Even if You Conform to the Twisted Norms of the Popular Culture, Men Will STILL Hate You.”  I guess that’s a little long.  They could just call it, “Men Will STILL Hate You,” but that might be too ambiguous, since the title could apply to most network TV shows.

Luckily, the pilot episode “It Takes a Village Idiot” (who was the Idiot?  I suspect it was me, for watching such tripe) was only 21 min. long; I don’t think I could have stomached any more.  The reason I watched it in the first place (it not being the obvious choice, as I am young, single, bitter, and dislike children) was b/c I saw a couple of familiar faces, namely Cheryl Hines, of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, and Will & Grace alumna Megan Mullally.  These two are both wonderful actresses, and I expected a show of theirs to be at least fairly good. 

Alas, my hopes would be cruelly dashed, as when the bristle-thighed curlew vigorously slams the egg of an albatross against a flat rock (Marks & Hall, 1992). 

The pilot opens w/ Jane (Hines) refusing to get drinks w/ friends, saying she’s tired and needs to see her kids.  She tiptoes up to the door, peeks in at the chaos inside, and then quietly sneaks away and imbibe wine with Rosemary* (Mullally) and Emily (Jessica St. Clair, as it turns out).  While she’s guzzling her beverage, Jane’s daughter calls.  Jane summarily lies to her, which causes Emily (whose children are perfect b/c they have a stay-at-home mom) to pontificate on the dangers of lying to children.  Rosemary and Jane confront her about Santa Clause, and Emily duly deprives her gullible tykes of their infantile delusion (imo, lying to your kids about Jesus is far more heinous than a few fibs re: the jolly old elf). 

Meanwhile, Jane is going to have a date.  This is exciting b/c, even though since Jane has a great body and perfect hair, and is professionally made-up, no one wants to go out w/ her b/c she is old (though young enoug to have a newborn.  Huh)–an old, and therefore boring, divorcee. 

The next day, we see Rosemary at the cafe, calling a gorgeous pregnant woman “Fatty,” and then, in a moment of feral cunning, claiming that she herself is pregnant in order to get the “perks” that society supposedly “showers” on pregnant women.  In this way, the show’s writers quite handily portray pregnant women as greedy and shallow, and apparently incontinent (Rosemary has to go to the front of the line b/c she can’t hold in the contents of her “tiny bladder,” as her preggo friend bobs her head in empathy).  They are also idiots, easily duped by Rosemary, since funnily enough, you never see anyone besides Rosemary’s pregnant friends actually GIVE her anything.  Guess all them lady-hormones made them stoopid haw haw. 

Meanwhile, Emily’s son incites a rampage at school when he tells all the other students the truth about Santa.  The teacher (being a mere woman) is reduced to a helpless mess.  Turns out she can only be intimidating when facing another woman, as she proceeds to dress down Emily for creating a “monster”, while simultaneously holding and massaging the hands of Emily’s husband, which naturally is enough to make him betray his wife. 

“But we were together on this at home!” Emily protests in shock. 

“We were having sex.  I would have backed you up on anything.”  Silly Emily.  Don’t you know it’s okay for men to break any and all promises made to those manipulative, wily women? 

For some reason, Emily takes these personal attacks well, personally, and storms out.  The teacher and husband exchange a rolling-eyed look of commiseration, before the husband leaves, the teacher still clutching his hand

Jane’s date is a guy at her office.  He breezily informs her this is actually their third, not first date, citing spurious evidence, which Jane accepts complacently. 

In case you pop-cultural retards out there weren’t aware, the third date = sex.  That’s right, ladies.  The men have paid for your meals, maybe even bought you a movie ticket or two…it’s time to put out!  Or else his investment in you would be, like, wasted.  Obviously the first two dates had nothing to do w/ getting to know you or (heaven forbid) enjoying your company.  NO!  They were merely pesky preludes that had to be gotten out of the way in anticipation of sex the third date.  IN FACT, men should watch In the Motherhood if only to figure out how to trick women into forfeiting the measly courting period they are allowed, which in turn might save the men some money!  In these trying economic times, every penny counts!  Also, they won’t have to listen to their date go on and on about her boring life.  Perfect! 

A boring phone conversation between the three friends ensues, wherein Jane expresses doubts about this whole third date thing (this brings to mind a Gary Larson cartoon of cows in a slaughterhouse yard.  One of the cows is cerebrally endowed, and is looking around suspiciously.  The caption reads, “Only Clara, with her oversize brain, wore an expression of concern.”).  Should she have sex w/ this man she barely knows? 

“Well, don’t you like sex?” Emily asks.  “Because if not, asexual people lead totally fulfilling lives.  You could take up a craft or something.”

YES, b/c if you don’t want to sleep w/ some sleezebag after only two weeks, OBVIOUSLY you hate sex!  That’s the only explanation, b/c men are so irresistable, right?  Especially ones that ooze their slimy way out of two dates. 

Jane, of course, doesn’t hate sex!  So she decides she will sleep w/ her co-worker.  He didn’t even need to coax or coerce her…her girlfriends did all the work for him!  Amazing!  But horrors, just as they are about to embark on their adventure of coital bliss, a pesky sexual harassment seminar is brought to order.  B/c sexual harassment is just a joke.  Women are supposed to LIKE it when their male colleagues and supervisors make lewd comments about their appearances.  I mean, gosh, can’t they take a compliment? 

When a female co-worker (whom I gather the audience is not supposed to like b/c she has short hair and isn’t showing any cleavage) tries to talk about an experience she had, Jane, in her hurry to get laid, shushes her w/ the ferocity of a rabid pitbull.  By then, it’s too late for dinner, let alone a movie, so she proposes they they “do it” right there in the workplace. 

“Very nice,” says the sleeze, probably thinking of how he’ll use the money he saved on dinner to buy cookies to stuff into his fat face.  They are duly interrupted by security guards, whereupon Jane immediately abandons her would-be lover to the rent-a-cop’s tender embrace.

So, it’s not enough that women are already greedy, vicious, fatuous, backstabbing whores…they’re cowards too!  Hey, ABC, is this supposed to be an example of you treating us like “goddesses”?!

Finally, Rosemary’s pregnancy scam comes to light…but nothing really happens except a rehashing of the “pregnant women are SO LUCKY” drivel (yeah, lucky to play host to a parasite that makes them fat, swollen and moody for 9+ mos). 

I haven’t been this horrified since…well, since watching ABC’s LAST “maternal” debacle, “Notes From the Underbelly.”

In the entire agonizing 21 minutes of televised hell, there was ONE funny line, delivered by Emily’s son as he spurs his classmates to rebellion: “…and because you were born in America, you can never be a princess!” 

That, however, was nowhere near enough to save this dismal show from a grade of F.  Hell, I’m feeling spiteful–let’s tack a minus on there for kicks; NO stars; thumbs way, way down; middle fingers up!

*I strongly suspect they named the character this for the sole purpose of making a stupid “Rosemary’s Baby” pun.


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