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The televisionist, July 16

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16 AND PREGNANT
  • 16 AND PREGNANT

DATING IN THE DARK

9 p.m. Monday, July 20

ABC

God, when will you wipe away the scourge of Reality TV? Probably never, given that it's cheap to produce and can be a ratings bonanza when it works. In exchange for an hour of their lives, couch potatoes get a glimpse into someone else's existence, usually while the person trapped in the idiot box is poked, prodded, threatened, cajoled and bribed into making a complete fool of him or herself. That said, since “Survivor” hit it big a decade ago, there seems to have been every permutation of the Reality genre, everything from fat people dancing to heroin addicts. Now comes a worthy candidate for the Harbinger of Armageddon Reality TV crown: “Dating in the Dark.” Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: three men and three women move into a house, then they meet, date and pick their mate in total darkness. It's supposedly an experiment to see whether or not love is truly blind, but the whole concept sounds fairly dumb. Our prediction: Expect hours upon hours of toe stubbing and accidental eyeball pokes, all filmed like Paris Hilton's sex tape.   

 

OBSESSED

9 p.m. Monday, July 20

A&E

I've got a friend who has mild Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and I can tell you from experience that it's an incredibly frustrating disease. Basically, OCD is a panic disorder, in which a person's mind irrationally convinces him that he's in danger at all times. From food. From dirt. From what might be lurking outside their house. Depending on the severity of the disease, OCD can literally make a person unable to function. Some OCD sufferers, for instance, check the locks on their front door hundreds of times a day, or scrub their hands raw for fear of germs on their skin. Luckily, with medication and psychiatric treatment, many OCD sufferers can lead productive lives. Every week, this show from A&E follows an OCD sufferer as he or she seeks treatment. While “Obsessed” has a bit of a “freak show” quality to it (most medical-themed reality TV does), it's still inspiring to see people making strides to overcome their psychological demons. This week, the show follows Marie, a woman obsessed with the idea that her refrigerator is going to fall through the floor of her apartment, causing the building to collapse on her and her family.

 

16 AND PREGNANT

9 p.m. Thursday, July 16

MTV

All you parents out there, listen up. I know Sarah Palin and Fox News and that talking blonde Republichick on “The View” who looks like an animated bobblehead doll say that the best way for your teen-ager to avoid getting pregnant is to tell them to keep their pants zipped and think happy thoughts about Jesus every time they get the urge to make mookie, but let's be honest: That ain't gonna happen. If your average teen-age boy finds a willing victim and a semi-private location, it's on like Donkey Kong. I know. I was a teen-age boy once. So please, do ol' Uncle Dave a favor and talk to your kid about condoms, okay? Don't be embarrassed. Just do it. That way, they won't end up starring on MTV's reality show “16 and Pregnant.” The fact that there are enough 16 year olds getting pregnant in this country that they can actually DO A SHOW about pregnant 16 year olds tells you something about how badly abstinence-only education has failed. I've kinda gotten hooked on watching this one, and it's a heartbreaker, featuring young people who should be going to prom and homecoming, but who are instead worrying about breastfeeding and C-sections. This week, meet Catelynn, a young mom-to-be struggling with the decision to give up her baby for adoption. 

 

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