Picks and Pans Review: Spencer
Double Trouble may make Gilligan look good, but Spencer manages to make Trouble look great. It even gives puberty a bad name. This is the tale of a generally worthless teenage boy, played by Chad (Silence of the Heart) Lowe, who's a failure at school, at love and at most social skills. The show is filled with tittery sex jokes. Spencer contemplates trying out for the track team because if a girl "comes on to you, you're already half-undressed." Or: His teacher holds an egg in her hand and asks what structure "is perfect for holding its delicate contents." Spencer replies, "The Cross Your Heart bra." If it stopped there, Spencer would be little worse than a juvenile Three's Company, a jiggle show with padding. But it does get worse. In one episode, a sex-starved divorcée next door decides to seduce young Spencer after seeing the boy shirtless. Mind you, the kid doesn't have biceps—or even uniceps. Nonetheless, the neighbor ogles him, and the audience of 11-year-olds ooohs at his half-naked body as if this were their kiddie version of the Playboy Channel. When Spencer talks to his dad about the birds and bees, Pop all but encourages him to forsake virtue and virginity. He remembers his own first time: "I got my Timex caught in her brassiere," Dad says. "I'm one of the few guys who knows exactly what time he lost his virginity." Then, as their son leaves for his adolescent assignation, Dad tells Mom: "He's going out there a boy and coming back a man...and maybe a father." And finally, as the kid is almost—but not quite—Mrs. Robinsoned, he tries to act grown up by lighting a cigarette. "There's nothing better," he says, "than a good smoke before a good woman." So here's TV's latest, a show about an underachieving, oversexed, underaged, smoking, brainless bimbo boy.
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