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  1.  (1954.1)
    After embracing the dark side of reality television with its marriage-busting hit "The Moment of Truth," Fox's newest project taps the power of its unscripted division for the forces of good.

    The network has ordered a pilot from 3Ball Prods. in which an avenger of penniless single mothers hunts down deadbeat dads and forces them to pay child support.

    Jim Durham, director of the National Child Support Center, functions as a sort of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" for tracking deadbeats. In the pilot, a financially destitute mom is contrasted with her wealthy ex-husband, who is living the high life. Durham confronts the man at his country club to shake him down in front his friends. It's ambush reality TV -- but for a noble cause.

    "(Durham) calls them on the phone and gives them the chance to do the right thing," said executive producer JD Roth ("The Biggest Loser," "Beauty and the Geek"). "Of course, those calls are never met with anything but yelling. Then he goes into their life, finds out what kind of assets they have and makes their lives miserable -- foreclose on their house, repossess their car. He will squeeze them until the women get paid."
    ...

    Finally, quality programming that the whole family can enjoy.

    What's next "Foreclosure Island"?
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      CommentAuthornoblelion
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.2)
    Y'know what's sad? I'd actually support this. I work with a TON of single mothers who would really be doing okay, IF they were receiving their child support payments; without those payments, they are plunged into debt, and struggle to keep their children fed and healthy. Although, I seriously doubt all the people who REALLY need the help tracking down payments would get it. Not all the single mothers out there are pretty, articulate, and TV-ready.

    It's better than The Bachelor, or Extreme Makeover, though, says I.
  2.  (1954.3)
    Yeah, it's insidious in that way isn't it?

    Bit like that Extreme Makeover Home show. I watched one episode (only one) and these people had their wee house turned into this giga-home. The kids got theme rooms (I'm sure a 12 year old boy loves his race car room, when he's 17 he's going to hang himself in it) and everyone got televisions everywhere. But poor people got a house so...

    The really creepy thought about this show is to think of the kids watching it, now or in years to come, and seeing their fathers actively trying to evade having anything to do with them. It's one thing to know the man's a bastard for leaving you in the lurch, it's another to see it on television.
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      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.4)
    <strong>@orwellseyes</strong>
    <blockquote>The really creepy thought about this show is to think of the kids watching it, now or in years to come, and seeing their fathers actively trying to evade having anything to do with them. It's one thing to know the man's a bastard for leaving you in the lurch, it's another to see it on television.</blockquote>
    I'll debate that one with you. It's not really another thing, no. Once you know your well-being has a pricetag (in my case, it was $79 a month), and that your own father doesn't want to pay it, no amount of public humiliation for yourself or for him can make it any worse. At that point, fuck it.

    Finding out after the fact he didn't want to pay? Well, I suppose that scenario is possible. Maybe there are divorced couples out there who manage to keep the bitter financial battle completely under wraps and hide the camera crews from the kids, only to have the kids see it later in reruns on reality television. However, that sounds more like an exception than the rule to me.

    In the case of the very young finding out long after the fact, I doubt it would have been the first ugly thing they'd heard/seen of their father, even if he'd been absent all that time.

    - Z
  3.  (1954.5)
    I doubt it would have been the first ugly thing they'd heard/seen of their father, even if he'd been absent all that time.

    Good point. A couple of my friends have fathers who turned into smoke on them. They get pretty hard when the subject comes up ("Fuck him dead" as one puts is) understandably.

    Adults walking into reality shows to humiliate themselves is all well and good. I don't like kids being anywhere near that open sewer.

    And for god's sakes, it's on FOX.
    •  
      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.6)
    <blockquote>couple of my friends have fathers who turned into smoke on them. They get pretty hard when the subject comes up</blockquote> It's the sort of thing you either move past, or you don't. My father is high-functioning autistic. I can either accept the man is a brilliant artist and a miserable failure as a parent (two separate issues), or I can be raw and bitter about it the rest of my life. If the rest of my family (all of whom he's estranged from) and social services couldn't get me to hate him, I doubt any one else will convince me to either. Even if I did, it's not as if it would register.

    <blockquote>I don't like kids being anywhere near that open sewer.</blockquote> The 'swapping mothers' show bothers me for that very reason. Some of the people on it have been unhinged, and that seems a very wreckless sort of thing to deliberately expose kids to.

    Thanks, FOX! Heh.

    - Z
  4.  (1954.7)
    The 'swapping mothers' show

    Damn you...I'd never heard of that. Now...a google later...I am violated

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      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.8)
    That's exactly the one I was thinking of, actually.
  5.  (1954.9)
    Oh, no. I hate accidently seeing that one as a commercial.

    Craziness.
    •  
      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.10)
    <strong>@orwellseyes</strong>

    I see your behemoth and raise you a mullet.
    <a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=LV8MQD5uoYg"></a>
    •  
      CommentAuthornoblelion
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.11)
    Adults walking into reality shows to humiliate themselves is all well and good. I don't like kids being anywhere near that open sewer.


    Good point. But then, in so many of those situations, the kiddos already being exposed to tons of shit... That video of the behemoth lady? I've seen that happen in person. I've been on home visits where people freak the fuck out, and the kids either run and hide, or just sit back and roll their eyes. Either way, it's like they're used to it. "Mom's having one of her 'episodes' again."

    That being said, the swapping mothers show is fucking ridiculous. They screen out the attractive and sane, opting instead for the misshapen and crazy.

    I just kinda hope this show, if it ends up happening, would raise public awareness of the douchiness of deadbeat dads, and the alarming percentage of them that don't pay up. Most of the single moms who aren't receiving child support have no way of advocating for their rights in those situations. There are agencies that will track down deadbeat dads and make them pay, but to hire them, you agree to give them an exorbitant cut out of the monthly payments. I've heard up to 40%. And the attorney general sure as hell won't help, as far as I've found.
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      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.12)
    <blockquote>the kids either run and hide, or just sit back and roll their eyes. Either way, it's like they're used to it. "Mom's having one of her 'episodes' again."</blockquote>
    It <em>seems like</em> they're used to it, but I can tell you that it's another one of those things people tend to carry with them. Being the maternal figure doesn't exclude a parent from disdain, bitterness and anger directed at how they did their job.

    - Z
  6.  (1954.13)
    This shouldn't be a show. They should do this without a camera, without calling attention to themselves. Maybe a cover on a magazine, maybe a newspaper report... but a reality show? On FOX? I can already imagine how the show will go:


    JIM DURHAM: Helen is a divorced woman with two kids.

    *shot of her gloomy in a bus, then shot of her kids, preferably gloomy or, even better, crying*

    JIM DURHAM: Her husband Robert doesn't pay her child support as he's supposed to, even if he has more than necessary to do it on a monthly basis without problems.

    *shot of the father on a party or something, preferably drinking alcohol or, even better, smoking*


    I don't like people being exposed like this, and no issue is this black and white. "Oh, she's good, he's evil". No. There might be several factors leading to one situation, and a news enterprise that completely fails in showing this is FOX. "Ruining the husband's life until he pays"? I don't trust FOX News to judge anyone. Plus, being a reality show, it will be money-driven and therefore sensationalist. And FOX absolutely excels at sensationalism. "Mass Effect: a sex simulator?".

    Wanna help penniless mothers? Not shoving a camera in their face is a good start. But I think asking FOX News to do something purely charitable and without any profit is like expecting the Ku Klux Klan to mourn the death of Martin Luther King on their own free will.
    •  
      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.14)
    You forgot the dramatic music.

    Shot of crying children = mournful music. Deadbeat dad = faux-rock music. Burdened mother = dramatic music.

    They should have Gordon Ramsay collect the child support. "PAY UP YOU WANKER!"
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.15)
    @orwell

    Didn't she keep the money the other wife sent her to get her surgery but didn't send any back?
    • CommentAuthorjayverni
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.16)
    That being said, the swapping mothers show is fucking ridiculous. They screen out the attractive and sane, opting instead for the misshapen and crazy.


    Not only to they do that, they absolutely go for the most opposite personalities. I've only seen one of the "swap" shows, but from the previews it seems like they take the "colflict is ratings" philosophy too far. All of those reality shows are the same in that way. But apparently, like the people that keep Maury, Springer, and the like on the air, the audience is a large enough group to keep them on the air.

    While I see the merit in the deadbeat dad idea (its always good to get parents to own up to their responsibility), is television the answer for this??
  7.  (1954.17)
    You forgot the dramatic music.


    Oh, yes. By John Debney and James Horner.
    •  
      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.18)
    <blockquote>While I see the merit in the deadbeat dad idea (its always good to get parents to own up to their responsibility), is television the answer for this??</blockquote>

    Woah, slow down there friend. A parent paying child support does not equate owning responsibility.

    Using my own past circumstance as an example: shortly after my parents divorced I ran away from home when the seams of my winter coat and my boots were falling apart, my prescription had emptied, and I had no means of replacing any of them. A family friend took me in and demanded the money from my father-- the $79 dollars my mother was forced to give him-- to have my prescription filled (for, of all things, asthma), and to buy another jacket. We couldn't afford to replace the boots too on the $79, I ended up with superglue and Dr Scholls inserts instead.

    If 'owning up to responsibility' had occurred I would have had all three with resorting to running away to get help. Even after the divorce I was living in a six-figure income household.

    Later that month I got the boots- they were my Christmas present from my father.

    - Z
    •  
      CommentAuthorZ
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2008
     (1954.19)
    <blockquote> You forgot the dramatic music. </blockquote> <blockquote><ul>Oh, yes. By John Debney and James Horner.</ul></blockquote>

    I was thinking something less compelling-- the standard compositions they use for reality tv shows.

    - Z
  8.  (1954.20)
    he really creepy thought about this show is to think of the kids watching it, now or in years to come, and seeing their fathers actively trying to evade having anything to do with them. It's one thing to know the man's a bastard for leaving you in the lurch, it's another to see it on television.


    I don't think I could watch this show.
    It hits far too close to home for me.
    The show would be perhaps something of a catharsis for the mother, but I don't think it would be that good for the kids, depending on their age. I also don't think that it would really serve to convince fathers of the errors of their ways at all, even if it was a public broadcast. And in some places, all the dad would have to do to get out of childsupport would be move to a state where the laws work different...

    Making the father pay what he promised? I'm all for that.
    But this seems to go a bit beyond that, in ways that I don't think would be that good for anyone.

    Welcome to Reality TV. We're the new Rome, this is our Gladiatorial show.