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Thread: Review: Wild Life

  1. #1

    Review: Wild Life

    July 12, 2005 --

    "Brat Camp"
    3 Stars
    Tomorrow at 8 p.m. on Ch. 7

    IT was inevitable that reality TV would eventually slide down the same slippery slope as daytime TV.

    Once reality TV stopped focusing on contests and started focusing on horrifying, low-rent families who constantly fight with each other (check!), it was inevitable that it would progress (or digress) into that other daytime TV favorite dysfunctional teens who need to go to boot camp.

    (You remember boot camp those places that often get, er, the boot, for being so abusive to troubled kids that some of the kids have actually died!)

    Welcome to "Brat Camp," ABC's new reality show where nine bratty, out-of-control, middle-class white kids are sent away by their parents who can't control them.

    Right off, I say send the freaking parents to wilderness camp they're the ones who've screwed up. These kids wouldn't be out of control in the first place if these idiots had any clue as to how to raise kids.

    But it's the kids who get sent to Sagewalk, a kind of Outward Bound for the out of control.

    These kids, horrible brats all, range from 14-year-old Nick, who tried to stab his twin brother, to 14-year-old Derek, who has been diagnosed with ADHD (or what my mother called ants-in-his-pants syndrome).

    There's also 15-year-old Jada, a spoiled Boston brat who has dropped out of every school that she's been sent to, and 17-year-old Shawn, who steals from his own mother for drug money.

    The parents, who clearly have no clue, further exploit their kids by letting their ordeal at wilderness camp be filmed the Maury Povich/Dr. Phil school of parenting.

    Anyway, the series will follow the progress of these nightmarish brats as they realize that they can't call home or, more importantly, go home.

    With 40-pound packs on their backs in the freezing Oregon wilderness, they will be made to endure a 100-mile hike while making camp each night, learning to fend for themselves, and coming to grips with what they have allowed their lives to corrode into.

    Their field instructors, trained in psychology and outdoor life, have taken on what they refer to as "earth names" like Stalking Cougar and Glacier.

    Hey, I'd change my name to Laughing Hyena if it would keep these monsters from finding me again when they finally "graduate," although they say their names are changed to keep the kids focused on the task.

    Now, I know this all sounds perfectly awful, but the whole concept, taken from a British show, is actually interesting. Watching these terrible kids develop into working humans is fascinating.

    Watching them away from their over-indulgent, frightened-of-their-own-kids parents is even better.

    The real problem is that if the show becomes a hit, these kids will never return to reality because they'll be further damaged by being turned into reality stars for a minute.

    If the trend toward developing daytime TV topics into reality series continues, who knows what they'll think of next.

  2. #2
    I did see part of the British show, and wonder. Did the kids agree to go and be filmed for reality Tv. I also wonder about shows like this and intervention. Why did the parents wait for the reality producers to say "action" before getting help? I also wish ABC wasn't involved. Bet on the kids being "coached" on acting up, and pumping up the drama.

  3. #3
    FORT Newbie lmelville's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    According to the new TV Guide, ABC didn't choose the kids, SageWalk used actual applicants (though I'm sure the parents would have to agree to have it televised). No talking to the camera crew was allowed except when the kids were interviewed away from the SageWalk therapists and what they said on camera was confidential.

    Don't know how truthful that is, but take it as you may.

  4. #4
    I wonder if the kids had to also agree to be on TV. Or maybe "you will get out of here quicker if you sign this here release...." I hope ABC does'nt have alot of pull on the show or the kids may get their sentence extended to keep the show going. Naw they can't do that, or send an airplane back to the gate. Oops, that was those other guys


  5. #5
    Can They Do It?? mrdobolina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    The Miami of Canada
    Brat Camp isn't like a contest reality show, robbie--it's more of a documentary about something that has already happened. There was no sentence issued for any of these kids...their parents sought help for their kids in the form of Sagewalk. The 40 to 60 days in the wilderness is more therapy than it is punishment. Although the kids might disagree with that statement! There are 6 episodes for this series--in the can already, so there won't be any extending to keep the show going. 6 eps is the entire show. I think this was filmed last year starting in November.

    I'd bet that the kids had to agree to be filmed too. However, none of them are 18 yet, so does that matter? I have no clue to the rules when it comes to kids on TV.
    "You don't own a TV?!? What's all your furniture pointed at?" Joey Tribianni

    It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.

  6. #6
    Fool... but no pity. Krom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    I don't think it much matters who agreed to what, or how different it is from other reality shows. The fact still remains that whatever the program did or didn't do for this kids is likely to be complicated, or even erased, by them being on TV.

    Some of them will revel in the attention and might use it to further their own sense of entitlement. Others will be teased mercilessly by kids at school, or perhaps even worse might anticipate such teasing and become ultra defensive and hostile.

    I just can't see how this could come out good for these kids at all.

    "You don't rehearse Mr. T, you just turn him loose."
    -----Sylvester Stallone, on Mr. T-----

  7. #7
    Do the Kirby! Healblade's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Texas, USA
    Well... I detemined that I wouldn't judge the show until I watched the first two episodes. I didn't get it. I still don't get it.

    *Really ugly rant ahead... this is your fair warning*

    Congratulations, Sagewalk. You've thus far managed to take 9 adolescents to the wilderness for nearly three weeks, making them rightfully angry at both their captors and their ineffective parents. That's it.

    Basically, the plan is to psychologically reprogram these adolescents, right? Good start, you've stripped away a large portion of their cosmetic facades, but you also left them bereft of their self-worths and support groups, for their parents have already given up on parenting them, and you've made sure that their parents stay clueless as to their progress or living conditions or even location for nearly three weeks.

    So... they've been stripped of everything. Maybe getting rid of their weak parents is a good thing. I'll grant you the benefit of the doubt on that. However, waiting more than two weeks simply to inform the adolescents of the problems their parents perceive in them is just wrong.

    Firstly, the parents are a bad source. For example, the hyperactive kid has been diagnosed ADHD. If properly diagnosed, he suffers from a medically recognized condition regarding the actual function of the brain, not merely a psychological "issue". Also, if the parents are so weak as to leave the situation at "he won't take his medicine", then they are negligent in the medical care of their 14 year old child and should be held legally accountable for this negligence. Sending him to Brat Camp over an issue like "he won't take his medicine" is nauseating and offensive. Another example,

    Also, two weeks of wilderness life without even knowing the reason for being there is insane. Let's do the math. "You can get out of here in as little as forty days" means that they are treated like criminals for 14 days for the chance to cater to a therapist for no less than 26 days. Gee, I wonder why the kids haven't improved the first two weeks? Maybe it's because Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon are more worried about imposing consequences on the child they have made to vomit than their psychological development?

    The psychology is insulting to the TV viewer. There better be a whole lot more they aren't showing us. With only 4 episodes to go, we've heard a lot of intransitive verbs only, and we've seen one participant recount being molested as a child. Fifteen days in the wilderness, and the closest thing to an action verb that the psychologist uses involves asking a participant to bring back aspects of his personality that he had when he entered the program?

    As far as the "impact letter" story, I'm sure the girl feels much better and will be a better person having told that story on national television. Psychological breakthrough? Where? Maybe I missed it while she was reliving a painful memory in utter shame among her peers. Maybe it was the part where the councellors didn't even say how she can grow from this experience. Better yet, maybe it was when everyone congratulated her on making a big breakthrough and she sat there with a camera pointed at her confused but tear-stained face.

    Am I the only one that doesn't get it? Maybe I'm too pampered with Dr. Phil's style of actually saying what the problem is and what to do about it. (By the way, Dr. Phil doesn't indemnify the parents in these situations.)

    In the meantime, I'll be waiting for one of the kids to live up to their titles and do something about their situation. They do have several options open to them. Some of the fastest ways involve legal liability issues, but could be rather unpleasant. Seriously, what are the councelors going to do if a participant blatantly refuses to eat, pack up camp, follow directions, stay within their imagined boundaries, avoid talking to the camera crew, dig a hole for somebody else's poop, or follow any of the other rules, be they spoken, written, or otherwise? Bringing in harsh new instructors that fundmentally lack the same authoritative capacities that their legal liabilities effectively dismantle is a rather desperate problem-solving measure. After all, what else can you legally take away from these kids? Their spoon? Shower privileges? The turkey dinner that they wouldn't eat on their hunger strike anyway?

    If this program works, it isn't due to the psychologists helping any during the first two weeks. Once they've broken the spirits of the participants, perhaps they can mold their heartless zombies into playing nice for the cameras so they can go back to their pushover parents and be cluelessly led back into their self-destructive behaviors.

    From everything I see, this program sucks... and so does the TV show about it.

  8. #8
    do you think the British version was better?? [anyone who has seen both]

  9. #9
    DANNI G8
    [QUOTE=robbied;1473838]I did see part of the British show, and wonder. Did the kids agree to go and be filmed for reality Tv. I also wonder about shows like this and intervention. Why did the parents wait for the reality producers to say "action" before getting help? I also wish ABC wasn't involved. Bet on the kids being "coached" on acting up, and pumping up the drama.[/QUOT

    i have just graduated series 3 which will be out next month, the cameras dont have that much to do with the programme if somthing happenes than they will folow you it isnt set up!
    what you see is what happenes! there was 500 hours filmed for a 4 hour series.

  10. #10
    DANNI G8
    Quote Originally Posted by mandyxox View Post
    do you think the British version was better?? [anyone who has seen both]
    i think the brittish version is alot better,

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