Review: The Adult Baby

The National Geographic documentary hit screens last night - was this reality TV at its cheapest?

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Last night TV viewers met a man who, rather than watch a bit of Dexter with a glass of wine, likes to relax by donning an XL nappy, sucking a dummy and playing with Lego in a reinforced crib.

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The Adult Baby is part of a series called Taboo: Fantasy Lives, which perhaps should just cut the bull and admit it would better suit the title LOOK! Weird people!.

Also featured were ladies who take scarily realistic Reborn dolls out to the shops in a buggy and dote on them as if they were real babies.

We were also introduced to a man who, despite having a real-life, flesh-and-blood wife, likes to spend hours each day on a XXX version of The Sims.

On this website – which he also works on and which has funded his outdoor swimming pool – he is having sex with his avatar daughters. While he never admitted this on screen, the voiceover man let us know as a handy aside.

The Adult Baby was exploitative (one reviewer has already dubbed it “highly hilarious”), uncomfortable viewing, particularly when it emerged that Stanley, the man in the custom-made high chair, suffered a history of child abuse.

You could claim the show “increased tolerance” of people with these peculiar habits. But really we all know we tuned in to gawp at a morbidly obese man being bottle-fed while wondering if he actually does a…you know…in his nappy.

A free ticket to the telly freak show, this was awful, end-of-days, deep-down-in-the-bargain-bin naff TV smut. The worst of its kind, a programme that made those who denounce the reality genre as rot all smug and “we told you so”.

And on the National Geographic channel, of all places! The home of history, science and lovely cuddly wildlife documentaries, playing host to a show that made the entire scheduling of Channel 5’s Extraordinary People season, which showed “inspirational stories”, including a woman with rabies and a man with no eyes, look upmarket. Let’s hope the magazine does not simultaneously morph into Take a Break in the process.

Granted, there was a kneejerk attempt to cloak the voyeurism commonly used in TV of this genre, in the form of cut-ins of “experts” explaining the behaviours. However, this also meant that the people themselves were never fully given an opportunity to explain their individual motivation.

To cap off this marathon of good taste, the show finished with a teaser for next week’s televisual treat, which will follow the lives of people who have “relationships” with objects. It featured a man licking a car bonnet. I, for one, can wait for that one.

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After The Adult Baby’s hour was up, I switched off and went for a wash.