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The Telefile
<i>Cuff’d</i>:  Spell it Like <i>Punk’d</i>, Watch it like <i>Cops</i>

MTV hasn't been doing much to promote its newest half-hour reality series, and it's understandable why: Cuff'd is the kind of show that finds you, most likely when you're flipping through the channels late at night looking for something half-dumb, half-exploitative to watch. It's the genre I usually expect to see from Spike TV and I'm frankly surprised they didn't nab it first.

For those who missed last night's premiere, the series takes place in police cars around the country as officers arrest and haul young (and often intoxicated) offenders to face the long arm of the law (or their parents). Basically: Taxicab Confessions-meets-Cops for teens and twentysomethings.

This show is entertaining in a lot of ways, especially when the stakes are low for the young'uns in the back seat. In episode one, for example, it was fun to watch a guy named Miguel get a public service ride straight to his mom's house after a night of drinking. He wasn't in any legal trouble, but it taught a lesson that public drunkenness (we can assume that's the offense here based on Miguel's slurred speech) can get you grounded for a month and cause your pretty mug to show up on national television. I'd be scared if I was a kid watching the show. And let's face it, there's wayyy worse ways to end up on MTV.

Other times, however, Cuff'd can be seriously depressing. There's a lot of sob stories on here, real crimes with real repercussions and, most disturbingly, the bitter truth that there are a lot of underage drunk drivers on the road. The show stops getting funny quickly when you reflect on the reality that the idiots in these vignettes account for a tiny fraction of the amount of people putting others in danger every single night in every single state. But then, there's a glimmer of hope that somewhere a kid is watching this thinking, "Oh, shit. I do not want to end up in a cop car getting a $2,000 fine and losing my license for a DUI." That's what the police departments who willingly participated in this show are counting on, anyway.

And speaking of the 5-0, the series does a great job humanizing the people who I, for one, always despised as a reckless teen. Maybe it's just because I'm older now, but the cops on Cuff'd for the most part seem down-to-earth, but fairly tough on the hoodlums they pick up. Hopefully kids will see that cops aren't there to ruin your party or anything, just arrest you when you're acting like a horribly reckless moron.

I'd highly recommend checking out an episode or two if you missed the debut (understandable since it was on at 11 PM!). At the very least, you'll get to meet this girl who runs a freak show and... I won't spoil anything, but for the love of God, watch the final clip during the credits.

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