The rise and fall of family fortunes

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The Independent Culture
You could watch the first five minutes of True Stories: The Trouble With Evan (9.30pm C4) and dismiss it as a Canadian version of QED, except with even lower production values. Evan is a compulsively difficult 11- year-old who is apparently as close as you can get to a visual contraceptive. His earnest, worried folks go to a "parenting group". A quick fix, surely, is but a few minutes away.

Ah, but this is Channel 4, where the human interest strand should be sponsored by Prozac, and anyone hoping for an untroubled night's sleep should stick to EastEnders. Evan's problems, and those of his family, are much deeper, and that dizzy feeling around the second break is your prejudices trying to regain their balance.

First you're against Evan. Then it dawns - via a clumsy but effective parallel story - that it's his dad who's the problem. Oh, and the loopy mum. But dad's got his troubles too. It never ends.

That, of course, is the point, as the traumas of each generation are visited upon the next with interest. It has been made before by countless flies on the wall, but rarely with the force of the camera on Evan's kitchen wall, which records every insult and threat. And the most depressing thought is that a similar exercise in every house on the street might produce identical findings.

The result? There isn't one. The moral? That's your problem.