The Weekend's TV: Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum / Sun BBC3
Orchestra United / Sun Channel 4
Amish: Squarest Teenagers in the World / Sun Channel 4

Some mothers do have them

Mother love is all very well in moderation, but if you overdose, the results can be appalling, as Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum is currently demonstrating. Curiously, although a complete numbing of the faculties of self-examination is one of the symptoms of mother-love poisoning, at least one of the victims here appears to have correctly diagnosed what's gone wrong: "My mum's 100 per cent responsible because she's created me and she's created a little monster," said Caron, conveniently exempting himself from the tiresome business of behaving well. And if his analysis of the situation struck you as a little unfair on his mother (surely the absent father had to shoulder some blame), you may have thought again when you watched her later, fondly defending his successful attempt to defraud a local shopkeeper.

If you haven't seen the series before the premise is simple. A group of grimly spoilt young people – amoral, indolent, stupid and aggressive – are cut away from their support systems and forced to fend for themselves. They have a limited budget and are required to go to work to earn it. Each week, the most resistantly feckless is sent packing by an assembled council of their parents, with the brat who survives longest winning a round-the-world trip and, just possibly, a ticket to independent adulthood. Last week, one of them stalked off in a huff because she couldn't bear living with "chavs" anymore and another was expelled for a violent tantrum, so this week numbers were filled out with a new arrival.

Marc, a sleazy parasite who likes to think of himself as a playboy, was hoping for a good-looking girl. He got Duane, a cosseted teenager who collects Disney dolls and has two chihuahuas called Princess and Paris: "Now we've got another mincer in the house," said Marc gloomily, adding homophobia to his already extensive charge sheet of social vices. They were then all sent off to Whipsnade to work as zoo-keepers, a task that fully explored their infantile sense of humour and whining incapacity to endure even the smallest amount of discomfort.

They are not all as bad as each other. Dim glimmers of light are visible, little sparks of self-knowledge and aspiration. But then they pull out the vodka and before long they're all having a screaming match on the stairs. Having only ever seen themselves reflected in the flattering, indulgent mirror of their parents' eyes they clearly have no idea how ugly and dim-witted they look. One of them even shouted: "Do you think I'm bovvered?" I'm glad to say that Marc got the boot in the end, at which point his mum threw a defensive hissy fit, making it clear that there will always be a space for him somewhere, however spectacularly he wastes it.

British youth came out looking marginally better in Orchestra United, a series in which the conductor James Lowe is attempting to mould a group of teenagers (with musical ability but no orchestral experience) into an ensemble fit to play a public concert. In the first rehearsals, this looked about as doable as training up a Blackpool donkey to take part in the Grand National, but – after a week away at a residential course – they just about passed their first test, a private concert for friends and family. The results bore the same relationship to a professional performance as cottage cheese does to double cream, but you could at least tell that it was some form of dairy product, and the prospect of further improvement didn't seem impossible.

Obviously, this lot are in a different league to the hand-picked losers of Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum, but even here the sense that your teenage years are a childhood with extra liberties, rather than any kind of prelude to adulthood, was pretty strong. The trumpet section proved particularly ill-disciplined, mucking about so much during rehearsals that Graham, the motivational coach, had to be brought in to give them a stiff talking to. His idea of stiff was my idea of floppy, to be honest: "I don't want to sound too harsh," said Graham, explaining that they might get kicked out, "but that is the bottom line." He virtually apologised for asking them to think about the other players. Anyway, harshness, or Graham's hopeless decaffeinated version, seemed to do the trick.

The Amish visitors in Squarest Teenagers in the World have been surprised by how childish British teenagers are, but that's possibly because most of them are 18 going on 65:"I think God hates low necklines," said one of them, when the subject of modesty came up. Another gravely explained that rock music kills plants when it's played to them and contains satanic messages if you run it in reverse.

This week, they were staying with a middle-class family in the countryside – lively, thoughtful and considerate teenagers who introduced them to the dangerous pleasures of sea-bathing and music festivals. Becky was troubled by the rhythm of the music: "It does something to your body that I don't really like," she explained quietly. I think what she didn't like was that she quite liked it, because later, after checking through her Bible for scriptural authority, she had a go at dancing. She also worried about her host's lack of faith: "It's really a burden to me," she said, "because I don't want those nice people to go to hell." I think Marc should be sent to live on an Amish farm for a year or two. He'd learn something about seemliness.

Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness