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Ratings Drop For Fox Sitcom "How I Raped Your Mother"
LOS ANGELES (CAP) - Fox's highly-anticipated new sitcom, How I Raped Your Mother, has already experienced a steep decline in ratings during its first few weeks on air.
An early press release for the show invited viewers to "meet America's favorite new television odd couple - an uptight rapist and his kooky, lovable victim - and watch the hijinks unfold when they both discover that a woman actually can get pregnant from legitimate rape."
A large audience did initially tune in to catch the widely-promoted pilot episode, which a Fox representative described as "a rollicking adventure involving the hilarious misunderstandings and unexpected blessings which can result from forced intercourse."
Despite the early bump in ratings, many viewers reported being disturbed by a sitcom built on the premise that the aftermath of rape involves hijinks or hilarity in any way.
"I guess maybe Fox was hoping to show us the lighter side of being legally required to give birth to your rapist's baby, given the current Republican party platform, which strongly supports imposing such a policy on Americans," said E! Entertainment television critic Edward Schiller. "But watching even just one episode of How I Raped Your Mother left me feeling dirty and ashamed for weeks.
"Every time I close my eyes, my mind replays that show over and over again," he added. "It's been a nightmare."
Although producers hired some of television's most talented writers to pen the show's first season, even they were unable to wring any laughs at all from many episodes, including one in which bumbling, socially-inept rapist Steven threatens to sue his pregnant assault victim, Ellen, for parental rights.
Other critics have called the show's third episode, in which Steven crashes Ellen's office baby shower, "completely unwatchable" and "horrifyingly macabre."
However, the conservative Christian American Family Organization has put the show on its 'Must Watch' list.
"We encourage viewers to open their minds to the possibility that love can blossom when you least expect it," read a statement released by the organization. "You may start a family willingly with a cherished partner, or a stranger may decide to start a family with you by assaulting you in a parking lot; to us it's the same either way.
"Families come in all shapes and sizes," the statement noted. "Except, of course, those involving gay and lesbian couples."
Despite support from this and other fundamentalist organizations, early reports indicate that Fox may have opted not to pick the show up for a second season. In light of the controversy this series has elicited, TLC has also shelved talks to develop a spin-off reality show entitled Raped Teen Mom.
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