Pivot, which styles itself as a network for millennials, has two more original shows going up Saturday, to join the sweetly melancholy Australian coming-of-age, coming-out comedy "Please Like Me." (The network is available locally on satellite and phone-based television systems, but not yet on cable.) Presumably, the idea is if you are over 30, you can just keep watching
Meghan McCain, daughter of senator John and two years shy of 30 herself, is the host of "Raising McCain," a sort of roving stunt-documentary-cum-talk-show that proposes to "dig deep into the issues that matter most to our generation." That is not quite the case -- the show flits butterfly-like from point to point and features interviews in which McCain often talks more than the people she's interviewing, creating an impression of abundance without offering much of substance. But as a kind of personality-driven Young Person's Guide to Whatever, it is not without charm or the odd thing that is interesting to know: the United States ranks 78th in the world in female representation in legislatures; the
With her crew and producers on camera with her much of the time, it has something of the pitch-meeting vibe of
McCain, who got known as a contrary Republican voice during her father's run for the presidency -- she is socially liberal, and moderately conservative (which counts as contrary, presently) on everything else -- has a sparky, un-self-conscious presence, but the structure of the show, in which her opinions at the top of the show will have been transformed by the end, its go-here-go-there pacing and suppression of nuance does her adisservice; it makes her seem unformed and uninformed and less serious than she might.
Indeed, the premise of the show -- in which the host takes a step toward enlightenment -- builds in a certain naivete. "I don't think privacy exists anymore, and I don't really care," she says at the beginning of an episode and at theme; by the end, she is worried how "the Internet and police and anyone everywhere can monitor our every move."
"I don't know what being a feminist means anymore and I don't even know if I consider myself a feminist," she says at the top of the what-means-feminism episode. (That old bra-burning canard is still hanging around among the younger folk, peskily.) "I like wearing makeup, I like wearing push-up bras and sometimes I dress slutty on
"Jersey Strong" is a spin off from "Brick City," the Peabody-winning
Like a reality show, it casts its leads as characters in a drama, and arranges to accompany them into certain situations for narrative profitability. (Both women have what is technically called Star Power.) But the approach is less intrusive or sensational than such shows usually are, and one feels generally that one is partaking of life lived not just for the viewer's benefit -- lives, too, that are surprising in their details, where television, scripted or unscripted, most often tends to drift toward whatever reinforces stereotype.
Partly, this has to do with the production values -- the show looks good, the photography pays its subjects respect and lets you enter into the production. These lives, whatever their challenges, look rich. You look and think, "This is not how I would have imagined it."