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TVCritic: SAVE ME FROM THE PRAT CAMP.

Byline: KEVIN O'SULLIVAN

THERE are punishments and...punishments. But there can be no more harrowing a fate than that suffered by the not-so-magnificent seven "stars" of TV's brilliant Brat Camp.

This is by far the funniest show I've seen in a long while.

From now on make no mistake - when it comes to sentencing serial offenders who can't stop doing wrong, the order of severity should be as follows:

1. You go to prison.

2. You are put to death.

3. You are forced to spend time with a ridiculously tedious bunch of unhinged American hippies who make you chant mantras while inhaling huge clouds of pointless herbal smoke.

It wasn't until I split my sides laughing at Channel 4's hysterical new "improvement" series for troubled young ladies that I realised there are far worse experiences than being fried alive in an electric chair.

I'm begging you, send a million volts through my veins rather than introduce me to Norman - the Buddhist bore whose stream of right-on cobblers stupefied his British victims into submission.

And God spare me Monica and the rest of the disastrous dullards who inhabit Utah's Aspen Achievement Academy, a nonsensical establishment that promises to cure horror kids of all their social ills.

Just the place, I thought, as Brat Camp's girls-only gaggle of odious UK teens first polluted the screen - and it was impossible to imagine feeling sorry for any of them. They were so relentlessly horrible.

Meet Georgie whose deep respect for her mother was profoundly touching. "All I want to do," snarled this monstrous excuse for a daughter, "is take her money, spend it on drugs - and do f all."

Ahh - isn't that nice!

And here's delightful Danni chronicling the recent highlights of her inspiring life.

"In the last 24 hours," boasted the ber chav, "I've got drunk, got stoned, smashed windows and stayed out all night."

The only problem for this unpleasant little cow's parents being that - sadly - she came home again.

And let's not forget expelled-from-all-her-schools Julia, the lazy stoner whose end-of-her-tether mother was thrilled about the 20 joints she smokes a day.

After witnessing the disgusting antics of these frightful kids, as far as I was concerned you could chuck every last one of them into a vat of boiling oil.

And turn up the temperature.

But within 60 engrossing minutes my heart went out to the poor little brat packers - and I was lost in sympathy.

Because I don't care what your crimes are, no one deserves to be plunged into the American nightmare with Norman and his torture-by-tedium squad.

All these products of Britain's acclaimed education system wanted to do was persecute their parents, chain smoke, drink heavily, take shed-loads of drugs and get arrested a lot. Instead they found themselves trapped in the wilderness enduring a series of pathetic new age ceremonies as Norm, Monica and the gang attempted to purge their past nefarious lives.

As the incense billowed and the asinine Americans made prats of themselves by banging on about how to be humble like mice, you couldn't help but side with Danni.

Rounding on a "base camp staff leader", our airhead heroine dismissed her as "a f***ing dyke".

The woman's name, naturally, was Gay.

Rather than being floored by any more of stormin' Norman's boredom, four of the girls were soon doing exactly what they were told - and vowing to be nice to mummy and daddy for the rest of their empty lives.

But three idiots were sticking to their defiant stands.

Tune in next week and watch the inevitable as they crumble under Norm's unique brand of pressure.

And mums and dads - if you really want to sort out your problem kids, I've got an idea.

Don't do it on TV!

CAPTION(S):

Brat... Georgie' Prat.. right-on Norman
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 12, 2006
Words:634
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