If reality TV has taught us anything (and it hasn’t) it’s that shows of this genre are only any good when there’s tension and conflict. Pitching self-obsessed teenage girls and boys against their parents over what they’ll wear and how they’ll get to “the major social event of the year” is guaranteed to bring both – and people are gonna watch it even if you don’t. Welcome to Formal Wars.

If scientists wanted to study the effect of the Kardashians on our children they need look no further – these kids are as shallow as the puddles of water they leave on the bathroom floor. Their parents seem to be entirely loving and caring (at least one bordering on smothering) but therein lies the tension. The teens are presented with a dilemma: they’re given $2,000 to cover the costs of all the trappings for their big night however in accepting the cash Mum and/or Dad get to plan their entire outfit (dress, shoes, accessories, make up, hair), pick their date and mode of transport.

They better not screw it up either, because as one of the girls at the centre of the series reminds us, it’s all about “Showing off my curves and my assets”.

Who wouldn’t want to go in Dad’s done-up Torana?!

Sprinkle over it a touch of pixie dust, add liberal doses of ERHMAGERD and you’re halfway there. It’s not all “and teen and parents lived happily every after” but it is about the journey. Fans of Four Weddings or Beauty and the Geek Australia are well catered for and will likely enjoy the well-massaged conflict and overwrought parents wondering if they’ve done enough/the right thing/picked the right Hummer/got tall enough heels. Melanie Vellajo is brought to us by the Fifi Box School of Hosting(tm), delivering a couple of pieces to camera and the narration to “help keep things kicking along” despite “things not going so well” as the hour progresses. She certainly doesn’t disgrace herself and is ever smiling and entirely gorgeous in her to camera pieces. And it’s another gig, right?

Formal Wars is the fluffiest of fluff TV though it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Watch and be glad you’re not the parent of a modern teen (or brace yourself if you soon will be).

Formal Wars – Thu 8pm, Ch7.