Image Credit: OWNThe folks behind the Oprah Winfrey Network made the (odd) decision to kick off the new cabler with Kidnapped by the Kids, a reality show about a pair of frustrated and lonely wee ones who abduct their traveling daddy for a week of camping, rehabilitation, and general torture for being the sole wage-earner. Instead of launching OWN with the 25th season of Oprah: Behind the Scenes — which probably would have been the best way to immediately capture viewers — we got a pretty dull look at Hank, an obviously likable and well-meaning guy from Santa Monica, Calif., who bums out his family whenever he travels for work (which, apparently, is every freaking week).
Poor Hank gets ambushed at the airport by his kids, who supposedly earned the permission of their dad’s boss to steal him away. (Imagine what it must have been like for the anonymous supervisor, who had no choice but to acquiesce because cameras were rolling and somewhere, Winfrey was probably watching). Instead of a relaxing break from work, Hank is then subjected to a series of guilt trips, first from his wife, Amy, who berates him with complaints that he’s always on his BlackBerry and that he ditched her when she got an amnio. Son Jack then weighs in with the revelation that he feels like his dad has a family someplace else.
“You are his hero,” Amy says, twisting the knife just a little bit more. “He just wants more of you.” Hank said “it seemed a little bit ludicrous” that he was kidnapped at the airport and I have to agree: I’m sure the show’s objective was to get us to feel sorry for the family, but I ended up sympathizing with Hank, who probably felt just as trapped but had to keep his job so his wife could stay home with their three kids. (The show ended with the note that he ultimately took a job closer to home. All for the best, I guess?)
At least OWN’s first show seemed to attract some pretty impressive advertisers, like Procter & Gamble, Swiffer and a pregnancy test, though the site of the artificially-enhanced Suzanne Somers for sexyforever.com was more than a little frightening. And good news: Oprah: Behind the Scenes debuts tonight!
Did you watch?