With a title like Enraged, I approached the new Toronto-made hour documentary very carefully.
I mean mindless entertainment this is not going to be.
So I can report after previewing the DVD that Enraged delivers.
Made by Lively Media it focuses on two seemingly normal North American families. Why these two groupings were chosen to profile is never made clear.
The standard smokestacks of Hamilton usher us into the spacious suburban home of Andree, her partner Tim and her teenaged daughter Peyton.
Andree is a working mom with a low boiling point. Everything Peyton does seems to provoke outbursts of true fury. Tim gets his fair share of it, too, and the entire household is on tender hooks, waiting for the next time mom erupts like a volcano.
Then there's the Austin, Texas, abode of Sam, wife Jane, and their three sons.
Sam sells real estate but around the house has fits of anger truly scary. There's never been any physical abuse but Jane feels that his anger might be imitated by the boys who'll have the same disrespect for their spouses when they grow up.
Andree and Sam never meet but share something in common. Both must understand what triggers their flashes of temper and they must do so quickly or risk losing their families.
What good Reality TV does is to turn viewers into interested observers rather than mere voyeurs.
Some of the scenes at both homes are so raw and seething you'll wonder how the cameraman managed to get out of the way.
In both cases we also sit in on the counseling --Sam and wife go to a three-day retreat where a professional psychologist painstakingly takes him through the stages of anger to discover where it is coming from and how his imperious tone is alienating him from his entire family.
Andree has psychological sessions in Hamilton to realize she is aping the way her mother treated her as a girl. As a conscientious mom she maybe tries too hard to make teenager Peyton into a picture perfect model of behavior.
Is Enraged a pilot for a series of such encounters? Could be. It certainly is far more realistic and balanced than other shows which venture into the lives of "average" families.
ENRAGED PREMIERS WED. MAY 5 AT 10 P.M. ON TVTROPOLIS.
MY RATING: ***.