Commentary

Meet Your New Boss: Kiddies Phone It In On USA Network

If you happen to think watching cute kids cavort for a half-hour on TV is entertaining, then guess again.

Maybe parents of young children who cannot get enough baby talk during their typical day will love this new “reality” show on USA Network in which kids are captured on “hidden” cameras in the act of being themselves.

For the rest of us, this new show called “The Secret Life Of Kids,” premiering Friday, emerges as the worst new show of 2018 so far.

The show purports to be a “study” of childhood behavior. With cameras that might not be very hidden, we are introduced to a group of small children as they interact with each other. Some of the baby talk is so excruciating that subtitles are placed onscreen to translate them.

The vignettes on view in “The Secret Life Of Kids” often have a staged look about them. Raise your hands if you think it is possible that producers and/or parents coached their kiddies on what to say and how to act in at least some of the portions of this show.

All hands should be raised. It simply does not seem possible that no direction or guidance was given in the production of this “reality” TV show. Suffice it to say that sincerity and/or reality (i.e., truth) seem to be in short supply.

Along the way between segments, we hear commentary from two people who are billed as experts in child behavior. Their so-called insights make no impression whatsoever.

For that matter, neither does this show. While watching it, your mind might wander into a thicket of questions and ruminations on the nature of television today.

You might ponder the history of cute-kid TV shows going back to Art Linkletter and “Kids Say The Darndest Things,” for example.

Based on that, you might conclude that this new baby-talk show at least has a precedent that in its own day was a popular concept -- or so it has been reported down the ages.

Or you might question the sanity of parents who in this day and age would subject their small children to the scrutiny of television cameras for the sake of entertaining others. Don’t we have puppies, kittens and trained seals to do the same thing?

You might also wonder about the USA Network brand and ponder its definition. This NBC-owned cable network is certainly filled with surprises, such as this apparent zigzag into the world of cute-kid programming inserted into a lineup of original content that has more notably been characterized by dark, depressing, violent dramas in recent years.

“The Secret Life of USA Network's Programming Decisions” -- now that would be a reality show worth watching.

“The Secret Life of Kids” premieres Friday (March 16) at 9 p.m. Eastern on USA Network.

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