Some people were horrified when they heard the title of Fox's latest sitcom, "I Hate My Teenage Daughter."
Apparently, these people have not spent enough time around heinous teenage girls.
Surely there are teenage girls who always tell the truth, cheerfully do their chores, maintain an A average and live to please their equally perfect elders. They also wear skirts below their knees, adhere to a vow of chastity and sobriety, and would never dream of shoplifting, breaking curfew or sexting.
Then there's reality.
The comedy, premiering Wednesday, Nov. 30, focuses on that extra-special relationship mothers and teenage daughters enjoy. Naturally the show is over the top; the moms tend toward pathetic while the girls are so nasty, no one would call social services if someone slapped them.
The show isn't helped by a relentless laugh track, but the cast is so solid and the topic so rich that there is a lot of potential. Jaime Pressly ("My Name Is Earl") and Katie Finneran ("Wonderfalls") play Annie and Nikki, best friends whose freshman daughters are spoiled brats. The women are in sync in person.
Pressly rocks a barely-there mini and has a 4-year-old son. Finneran, who won a Tony for the revival of "Promises, Promises," has a baby son, so neither has dealt personally with the challenges of a teenage daughter.
"TV is supposed to take you out of your reality and (make you) feel good and laugh at yourself, of what you are going through, and even if you can't watch, it's funny," Pressly says.
"Ultimately it is about how much we love the two daughters," Finneran says.
"And it's really, really about the friendship between the mothers," Pressly adds.
The characters had painful childhoods and awkward teenage years.
"My mom was a religious nutbag who insisted on making all of my clothes because she thought the Gap was the devil's workshop, so I went to school every day looking like a sister wife," Annie says.
She wasn't allowed to watch TV or go to dances or essentially participate in pop culture, so she misses some social references, though her moral compass is more finely tuned than Nikki's.
Nikki is desperate for love and wants to be best friends with her daughter, Mackenzie (Aisha Dee, "Terra Nova"). Nikki had an eating problem as a girl and still uses food as a crutch. The scene where she eats pie without aid of utensils is a study in an actress brave enough to look truly silly on camera.
"Come on, Nikki, use a fork. You are not a bear!" her former brother-in-law and current crush, Jack (Kevin Rahm, "Desperate Housewives"), tells her.
Annie's ex, Matt (Eric Sheffer Stevens), is a feckless musician. Katie's ex, Gary (Chad Coleman), is a golf pro. But Gary, Annie and Jack at least are mature.
When Gary tells Nikki she needs to get a job, "I have a job," she says. "I am a mother and a damned good one."
Never mind that Mackenzie dresses as if she's turning tricks and that Nikki is afraid of her mean, materialistic and imperious daughter.
"I don't want to be a working mom. Those women are pathetic," Nikki says, looking at Annie, who works in a coffeehouse.
"None taken, you lazy, stay-at-home whore," responds Annie.
Nikki's job hunt will be grist for future episodes, Finneran reports.
"She's going to try to be a lounge singer," she says.
In the pilot, the daughters, Mackenzie and Sophie (Kristi Lauren, "Working Class"), lock a boy in the girls bathroom, which is bad enough, but the boy is in a wheelchair. Sophie tells Annie that the boy is racist and said awful things to Mackenzie, who is biracial.
At the heart of the first episode is a theme likely to continue -- the moms trying to right the wrongs of their unhappy teen years through their girls. Though the moms ground them for imprisoning the disabled boy, they then allow them to attend a dance.
The moms show up, and when Annie discovers Sophie lied to her, she wants to punish her. They use their best weapon: They dance. Nothing embarrasses teenagers more than having parents make jackasses out of themselves at a dance.
Pressly, no stranger to a hit comedy, insists this is one.
"This is gonna go," she says. "Aside from the fact that the writing's incredible, we are coming on after 'The X Factor.' And the people up against it (competition from other stations) are not anyone to be afraid of."
"It feels like it has real mass appeal," Finneran says. "It's sardonic and ironic. It is a broad comedy. Obviously things are exaggerated."
As to early negative buzz about the title and the teenagers' behavior, Pressly says after a press conference, "I think everybody is being a little too serious. It's a comedy."
"This is going to be that guilty pleasure," Pressly says. "For people who don't have children it will be a guilty pleasure. If you do, it will be something you can relate to and realize that you are not alone."