'Princesses': CBS' dark tale of sexism, consumerism


September 27, 1991|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

The new TV season hits rock bottom tonight with the debut of "Princesses" at 8 on WBAL (Channel 11).

This sitcom, aimed at teen and pre-teen girls uses a potent fairy tale formula -- living to attract men and shopping for designer labels -- to teach sexism and consumerism. It's deplorable.

"Princesses" stars Fran Drescher, Julie Hagerty and Twiggy Lawson (the '60s-era model) as three women who, through a series of events, wind up sharing a fabulous, rent-free, penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park for a year.

The concept here is established by the show's theme song, "Some Day My Prince Will Come," and in shots of the apartment building that make it look like a castle. And, just in case anyone still doesn't get it, Hagerty's character says at the end of tonight's episode, "Gee, it's just like a fairy tale."

At first, this may look like a silly show aimed at kids. As with "Perfect Strangers's" Cousin Balki, there's a broadly drawn character to whom young viewers will likely be attracted. Here, it's Princess Georgina De La Rue (Twiggy), from the fictitious island of Big Cilly (pronounced Silly).

But pay attention to the positive things the characters say about Armani suits and cashmere socks. And then notice how Tracy and Melinda (Hagerty and Drescher, respectively), refer to their dream of having families and careers as a "pathetic illusion."

The CBS ad campaign for this show says: "They're witty. They're pretty. They're available." And, hopefully, by going against "Family Matters" on ABC, they'll be gone before too many young viewers embrace their retrograde values.

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