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 teens might pick up a few little-known facts from this reality-style game show (such as how to spell the word "bacchanalian"). But they'll be hard-pressed to find many truly positive role models. Because contestants are judged not only on how much they know, but also on how good they look, the show emphasizes superficial beauty and generally makes fun of its intellectually challenged subjects. Plus, when they're not walking the runway, the contestants drink, smoke, and swear (though the strongest language is bleeped out).
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Hosted by Ben Stein (an actor, comedian, and former speech writer for President Richard Nixon) and Mary Alice Stephenson (an expert in the realm of celebrity fashion), AMERICA'S MOST SMARTEST MODEL tests the intelligence of 14 "himbos" and "bimbos" (seven men and seven women) who claim to be the perfect blend of beauty and brains. Challenges range from a old-fashioned spelling bee to a science fair supervised by Bill Nye (the Science Guy). There are also activities designed to test how well the contestants perform in actual modeling tasks -- like walking the runway and posing for photographs. The winner is declared "America's Most Smartest Model" and wins a prize package worth $100,000.
Is it any good?
If America's Next Top Model and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? had a child, it would probably look a lot like this reality/game show hybrid that pits models against each other in an elimination-style battle of wits. It's got guilty-pleasure potential for channel-surfers ... but only if there's nothing better on.
America's Most Smartest Model has some problems, including a ho-hum contestant pool that contributes to the sense that the show was somewhat slapped together. But Stein's ever-changing roster of dismissal lines is a definite highlight. A prime example? "Like the leg bones of a cetacean mammal, you are now vestigial." That's one of the best parting comments since "You are the weakest link. Good-bye."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the pitfalls of stereotyping others, especially when it comes to brains and beauty. Why do people tend to assume that models are stupid? Are female models slapped with the label more often than male models? Why? Would you rather be intelligent or attractive? Why or why not? Families could also have fun brainstorming a list of people they know who are both intelligent and good-looking.
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