October 10, 2006

Made

Is there a sweeter show on television than MTV's Made? Made gives reality shows a good name.

For the uninitiated, Made chronicles the attempt of a high school student to succeed in some dream. By an adult's standards, these wishes might seem prosaic. Most of the kids want to be the polar opposite of their current image: The doughy boy wants to be on the soccer team; the gangly, picked-on wallflower wants to be prom queen. They work with their Made coach -- the all-star soccer player, the beauty pageant winner, etc.

One of the appeals of Made is that the hero(ine)s are normal kids; in fact, they tend toward the geeky. These aren't the confident, model types found on Laguna Beach.

The trajectory of most episodes is the same. Kid has seemingly unreachable goal; kid is introduced to tough Made coach; kid is put through the equivalent of a military basic training and whines and moans and almost quits; kid sticks it out, sometimes kicking and screaming; kid eventually triumphs, whether or not kid reaches the exact goal.

Most of the kids are delightful, and it's rare that I don't end up rooting for them to achieve their goal. Last night, Made's new season debuted. Our heroine, an Emo girl who wants to be a cheerleader, whines much less than most Made kids, and as usual, watching her gain confidence is inspiring.

If there is a lingering sadness about Made, it is that it usually features unconventional kids who want to be accepted by the "popular" kids. I want to yell at them: "Just hold on. You'll be so happy in college." But from the dawn of man, it seems that high school students want desperately to fit in, even if it involves losing some of the eccentricities that make them so attractive to their friends and parents.

Made is on every Monday night at 10:00 P.M. Eastern on MTV. You can catch the reruns of the first episode of this season on Tuesday at 2:30 P.M., Wednesday at 4:30 P.M., and Thursday at 10:00 A.M.