We have officially touched bottom in the doldrums of summer TV. It came at 8 p.m. Wednesday with the start of "Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage" on Fox.

The reality TV special was two hours of film of Nadya Suleman, her 14 children, her parents and the birth of her octuplets -- all of it in search of a story line or a reason for being on TV.


I love cinema verite documentaries, the formula to which this production seemed to aspire. But this was not cinema verite filmmaking, this was cinema slop sleazeball exploitation.

I suppose in, say, a graduate seminar in film theory, one could argue that because Suleman's life appears to be chaos, any documentary about it might well adopt a chaotic structure as well. OK, but then why not have a team of monkeys with handheld digital cameras follow Suleman around, and make a film?

You know what, a team of monkeys could not have done worse than the producers from Radar Online, which made this film. And Fox could have probably gotten this tainted footage for even less from the monkeys -- a few bananas. Hey, there's a new business model for Rupert Murdoch to ponder.

I say tainted, because the State of California found the producers in violation on four counts in the way the children were filmed. That should have been enough to keep it off the air. But Fox bought it through a second party, and acted like that made a difference. Say what you will about Jon and Kate Gosselin, they have not been cited for any violations in the filming of their TLC show.

Beyond that little problem of violating child labor rules, what a mess this film is. There is absolutely no narrative or story line that I could discern. It opens with Suleman in a van with someone (I presumed the producers) and some of her infants as a horde of photographers snap pictures. I think they arrive at her mother's home where another horde is waiting.

Along the way, we hear Suleman saying things like, "How is this possible? This is unbelievable. What am I the president? Nooooo. I'm just a mother."

Answering her own questions aloud this way is only one of several things that makes you think Suleman talks to herself a lot. And after having to listen to her for two hours to write this review, I am not surprised: Who would want to hear what she has to say?

I thought I was going mad trying to follow the twists and turns of her mind. I think at one point, she said she saw spirits in the backyard of her home, but I could have imagined that. It came near the end of the film and by then, I think I was hallucinating and seeing spirits in my backyard. And then, they were hovering over the TV screen -- trying to change the channel back to the Orioles baseball game.

And all through this hot mess, Fox kept hyping the "jaw dropping" delivery room images of the births of the octuplets. Of course, they came in the final moments, and mainly consisted of jerky, handheld footage of the backs of doctors' and nurses' gowns -- and the front of a piece of cardboard or something one of the nurses kept putting in front of the camera.

There were fleeting shots of the infants, but you could see very little -- and, I have to tell you, I didn't want to see anything at all. What a hustle.

But at least I know it wasn't a monkey shooting the delivery room video, because you kept hearing the obnoxious voice of the photographer hired by Suleman to videotape the births as she argued with the medical personnel about her right to get in their way. And in case you couldn't follow the back and forth, there were subtitles. I only wish they had been in a language other than English -- one I didn't understand.

Do I want to see more Octomom on American TV? Nooooooooo. Do I think Fox and Radar Online should be ashamed of such programming? Yesssssssss.