A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the family-friendly reality series Abby and Brittany features the conjoined twins as they finish college and set out on their adult life. It's voyeuristic like most shows of this type, but contains lots of positive messages about loving yourself, being positive, and enjoying life in a healthy and proactive way.
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What's the story?
ABBY AND BRITTANY is a reality doc featuring 22-year-old conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel as they finish their senior year of college at Minnesota's Bethel University and transition into their adult life. The twins, who are majoring in education to become elementary school teachers, face unique challenges as a result of sharing one body and having individual organs from the waist up. But whether it's hanging out and throwing parties with their college roommates or facing the uncertainties that come with being new college grads, the confident duo demonstrates that regardless of how people see them, they are as normal as anyone else.
Is it any good?
The series is the latest of several documentary projects featuring the Hansel twins, who have received lots of attention over the years due to the unique way that they are conjoined. There are some details offered about how they function while sharing single body, but the focus really is on Abby and Brittany's personalities, their relationship with each other, and how they socially and professionally interact with the rest of the world. Observations offered by friends and family fill out some of these details.
While the show succeeds in showing how these young women live a life that is extraordinarily ordinary, it also feels a little exploitative. But despite its voyeuristic appeal, the show contains lots of positive messages about loving and accepting who you are with grace and humor that viewers of all ages can appreciate and benefit from.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about twins. Why are some twins conjoined and others aren't? Are conjoined twins ever separated? What are some of the medical issues they may face as a result of being conjoined? What makes Abby and Brittany unique from other conjoined twins?
Why do you think the Hensel twins agreed to be on a reality show? Do you think the messages about how "normal" they are is best communicated in this TV format? If they weren't conjoined twins, do you think they would be interesting enough to have their own show?
How does the Hensel family relate to the media? What choices have they made about appearing on TV or in magazines? Why?
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