If there’s one thing a teenage girl cherishes more than her lip gloss collection and manuscripts of “Twilight” fan fiction, it’s her reputation. No one understands this as well as FOX, whose new sitcom, “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” invites door-slamming, “misunderstood” adolescents (and their moms) to revel in the desperately narcissistic journey to teen-queen social royalty.

I Hate My Teenage Daughter

Pilot
Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.
FOX


A disappointingly dowdy and tired Jaime Pressly (“My Name is Earl”) leads as Annie Watson, a naïve conservative mother to monster-in-a-training-bra Sophie (Kristi Lauren, “Living the Dream”). As her daughter’s nature is revealed to be one halo short of angelic, Annie and best friend Nikki (Katie Finneran, “You’ve Got Mail”), whose daughter (Aisha Dee, “The Saddle Club”) is part of a terrible teenage twosome, are faced with an impossible mission: to punish their children. Mocked by uninvolved husbands, a smug uncle and a snooty principal, Annie and Nikki must rely on each other in navigating the uncharted territory of mother-daughter relationships.

Though the intensely stereotypical portrayal of a raging teenage population is obviously an intentional exaggeration, “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” falls short of social satire, lacking the biting humor that makes a viewer want to laugh along. Instead, the characters’ obsessions with reputation seem more like a screenwriter’s half-assed attempt at mocking female insecurities. The sexist stereotypes are endless: skimpy outfits, complete lack of sports knowledge, manic fixation on weight and desperation for male attention.

Due to their lack of credibility, Annie and Nikki fail to win over viewers — their superficial antics mirror the stereotypes represented in their daughters. Referring to each other as a “pathetic” working mom and a “lazy, stay-at-home whore,” the women voluntarily sacrifice their positions as respectable role models. Because the mothers seem to vie for acceptance just as much as the teens, viewers (and the characters) are unable to regard anything the women say with authority.

Yet the show does offer a fairly consistent amount of typical sitcom laughs, even if not hilariously creative. While Pressly seems a bit unnatural in such a conservative role (the only playboy Annie Watson gets on her knees for is Jesus), Finneran glows with a natural comedic timing. Charming in her self-deprecation, indulgence in desserts and general oblivion, Nikki is the perfect sidekick to her rather plain best friend.

The two, dedicated to drowning their daughters in dancing parent-induced embarrassment, provide a bouncy dynamic that ushers in the majority of the show’s comedy. A necessary break from the draining annoyance that is the remaining cast, the motherly duo deserves the attention of a program otherwise dedicated to the woes of teenage girl-dom.

“I Hate My Teenage Daughter” presents two important lessons that all (especially you, FOX) must learn: First, there’s nothing — not even a manicured adolescent witch — that can’t be fixed with a healthy dose of embarrassment. Second, if the decision is made to title a program, “I Hate My Teenage Daughter,” don’t be surprised when the audience hates her, too.

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