Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Kids get real

Reality television continues its relentless creep into every corner of the TV schedule with the news that NBC and the Discovery Kids cable channel will be hosting a kiddie version of the home-decorating duel "Trading Spaces." The original program, a hit on TLC, features grown-ups decorating rooms in one another's homes and then behaving like children if they don't like the results, so perhaps the leap to actual little ones isn't all that big. Yet the idea that reality TV, with all its manipulations and orchestrations and creative editing and bad behavior, is now not just for immature adults anymore saddens me, as does the thought of kids fussing with designers over how to mess up the bedrooms of their peers. Shouldn't a kid's room be the ultimate statement of his or her own taste, or lack thereof? Or, at the very least, of their parents' taste or lack thereof? Can't we at least keep the bad taste in the family? Maybe I'm overreacting; maybe it'll be fun. But on that inevitable day when "Survivor Jr.," "Minor Mole," "Big Brother: The Next Generation," "Fifth-Grade Fear Factor" and "Bachelor's Prom Date" fill the airwaves, let's remember that it all started with decorating.

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