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TELEVISION REVIEW

'Platinum Babies' on WeTV

These well-heeled new parents just can't resist the splurge urge for baby, and in the current economic climate, it's unsettling to watch.

November 06, 2009|MARY McNAMARA | TELEVISION CRITIC

"Platinum Babies" debuts on WeTV tonight, after apparently spending years lost in some time-continuum wormhole. How else to explain the strangely dated premise: When rich people have babies, they hire people to help them spend a lot of money on cribs and strollers and things!

Tented by the questionable news of a celebrity baby boom (I'd need to check census records, but I'm fairly certain celebrities have been having babies since the invention of celebrity), "Platinum Babies" is really just another excuse to wallow in high-end consumerism -- $100,000 on gift bags! Gucci baby shoes! -- in a way that both envies and derides it.

This is the kind of thinking that hit its stride six or seven years ago, around the time Sarah Jessica Parker was having her kid. Suddenly anyone who made a product or provided a service remotely connected to infancy realized what clothing designers have known for years -- if you can get a photo of even a B-lister using your baby sling in a national magazine, you're golden. If little Apple Paltrow can have a $900 stroller, then by gum so can my kid.

But that was back when everyone also believed that Wall Street had somehow abolished the law of gravity. Now, watching the two couples whose spending patterns are so meticulously documented in the first two episodes of "Platinum Babies," there is a tendency to flinch a bit. Given the state of the economy, did entertainment reporter Victoria Recano and her husband or Sacramento stylists Tara and Andrew entertain second thoughts about having their high-end prenatal lifestyle documented?

Recano "stars" in the first episode, which first floods the screen with sentiment -- she and her husband love each other so much! -- before getting down to the brass tacks of pregnancy: finding the right consultants. The one to choose the linens and the nursery motif, the ones to plan the shower, which have gift bags that look suspiciously "negotiated" -- you give me a bunch of free stuff and I'll invite my quasi-celebrity friends. But maybe I am just choking on sour grapes -- those pink crystal encrusted earphones are pretty darn cute.

With Tara and Andrew, most of the money goes into two showers -- one an elegant Moroccan affair, the other a more traditional gals-only backyard party (decked out with 10 grand worth of flowers, of course). But as lovely as the events are, haven't we gotten tired of watching chefs describe their various dainties while the party specialists run around straightening tulle?

Neither of these couples is to the manner born (or if they are, it is not mentioned). They are hard-working professionals who have done well and are certainly entitled to throw a lavish party or hire a nursery decorator. Why someone thought it would make good TV in the middle of a financial crisis, however, is another issue entirely.

There is a chance Executive Producer Danielle Ostroske is summoning us all to the barricades, but I don't think so. "Platinum Babies" is just an ill-timed leftover of an era when America believed spending money was a hobby, like fishing or needlepoint. The idea that we, as a culture, once believed that possessing a few high-end designer items would somehow lift us above the mundane is increasingly embarrassing. Though maybe we can just blame it on the kids.

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mary.mcnamara@latimes.com

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'Platinum Babies'

Where: WeTV

When: 9 and 9:30 tonight

Rating: TV-G (suitable for all ages)

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