'The Week the Women Went' review: New Lifetime reality show plays (and preys) on gender

A father helps his daughter prepare for a

A father helps his daughter prepare for a beauty pageant in "The Week the Women Went." (Credit: Lifetime)

UNSCRIPTED SERIES "The Week the Women Went"

WHEN | WHERE Five-week run premieres Tuesday night at 10 on Lifetime

REASON TO WATCH It's not a TV show. "It's a social experiment of Biblical proportions!"

WHAT IT'S ABOUT The place is Yemassee, S.C., population 1,027. The situation is this: "All" the women are leaving town. The men are left to cope with -- aiyyeee! -- kids! Cleaning! Cooking! Other scary woman tasks! Lifetime cameras are there!

Comic Jeff Foxworthy narrates what happens next. The women head to a swanky Florida resort, while the men lose it utterly to an upshot of messy houses, screaming kids and hot dog/ramen noodle dinners. A Marine must manage teenage girls. A 13-year-old runs her mother's business. Heck, even a tornado hits town, as Foxworthy warns, "Another woman is making her presence felt: Mother Nature!"

Worst of all, "bedtime brings bedlam!" Babies. Will. Not. Go. To. Sleep!!!

"The men are under siege," intones Foxworthy, "and a [kiddie] pageant is looming."

MY SAY Oh, Lord, is that "Superman" music? Well, why not -- everybody knows women have to be superhuman to take care of kids, households, businesses and (sigh) men. Purporting to demonstrate this so Perhaps Changes Can Be Made, the first hour of "The Week the Women Went" seems strangely sanguine about The Existing Order of overworked women and clueless men -- not to mention kids behaving badly as bait for more screen time.

What the show immediately does well is capture a feel for the small town's daily life of churches, cafes and a volunteer fire department. But then the melodramatic music and Foxworthy's wink-wink attitude escalate. Chaos and confessions are ever more histrionic. You think the whole thing couldn't be more contrived -- until "up next" preview scenes promise Suze Orman, a local "African village," gays invading town and women weeping through some sort of self-help session (on a boat).

Aiyyeee!

BOTTOM LINE "One town will change forever!"

GRADE Your guess is as good as mine.

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