By Michael Slezak
June 26, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT

Close your eyes and think of your most dreaded phobia. Now imagine if a major cable network decided to create a series by which even a quick glance at the lead character would conjure up said phobia, sending you down a spiral of throat-clenching, palm-sweating, head-spinning terror. Would you pull your favorite Iyanla Vanzant self-help book off the shelf, hoping to use the show as an opportunity to face (and possibly overcome) your darkest fears? Or would you crawl under the bed and turn into an emotional dust-bunny? That’s the dilemma I’m facing tonight, when ABC Family premieres Kyle XY, a sort of John Doe-meets-Everwood drama in which in which the title character… does not… have… a bellybutton.

Let me back-track for a second. You see, ever since I was a young boy growing up in upstate New York, I’ve been completely, unnaturally navel-phobic. I don’t like to hear folks talk about bellybuttons. I don’t like to look at bellybuttons, or even at pictures of bellybuttons. (Clearly, I don’t fancy a half-shirt.) Most of all, I really don’t like anyone to look at, mention, acknowledge, or especially touch my bellybutton. Not even myself. I’ve never considered a career in national security because, honestly, if the safety of this country depended on my ability to keep some closely guarded secret, all it would take would be some evil dude with a pair of handcuffs and a strategically placed Q-Tip, and I’d be singing like a canary. (Note: This admission should not be taken as a signal to taunt me with bellybutton-in-peril anecdotes in the PopWatch comments section. Thank you.)

So anyway, back to Kyle XY (which EW’s Thom Geier gives a B-.) This afternoon, I gathered my courage and went to the show’s official website, where I was confronted by (gah! there it is!) Kyle’s umbilicus-free abdomen; I also got drubbed by the ABC Family computer in a game called ”The XY Challenge,” mainly because Kyle’s cells look like — you guessed it — blue and green navels. Anyway, people, I’m feeling very LeToya about how to plan my evening viewing schedule — that is, I’m “Torn.”

So make the decision for me. To watch or not to watch Kyle XY? That’s the question. I await your directions.

addCredit(“Kyle XY: Andrew Eccles”)

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