The true focus of Bet on Your Baby is not the children, but the parents. The real dramatic tension comes not from whether the kid will correctly make eight animal sounds in 60 seconds, but from whether the parents will escape the trap of penury by winning what the host, actress Melissa Peterman, explicitly terms a “life-changing” sum of money. Many young families are anxious about paying for college. The producers of this show have quite brilliantly figured out a way to dramatize that anxiety for our entertainment.
“How much would a $50,000 college fund mean for you guys?” Peterman asks the finalist husband.
“Obviously it would be amazing, you know, I’m sure all the families here feel the same,” he says. “That it would not only help a tremendous amount, but also relieve some of the things that you think about as a parent all the time.”
I have just discovered that there is a show on ABC where parents bet that their two- or three-year-olds can accomplish tasks like stacking cookies to win money for college. The first two episodes are on Hulu. It looks … kind of funny. But if you have seen this show and know it’s terrible, please warn us all now.