Bringing Up Bates

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Bringing Up Bates TV Poster Image
The big Bates family returns in mild unscripted series.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Family a major theme; Christianity, faith-based values. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The family is close, are practicing evangelical Christians.  

Violence

Toy guns. 

Sex

Dating, marriage, having children discussed. 

Language
Consumerism

Ford vehicles, iPhones. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bringing Up Bates, a 19 Kids and Counting spin-off, is a reality series about a large conservative Christian family. The major themes revolve around family, but marriage, Christianity, and having children are also discussed. Toy guns are sometimes shown, and logos for Ford and iPhones visible. There's no language or drinking to worry about. 

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What's the story?

BRINGING UP BATES, a reboot of the series United Bates of America, is an unscripted series about an Eastern Tennessee family consisting of 19 children and their parents. The 19 Kids And Counting spin-off stars Gil and Kelly Jo Bates and their 19 children, who range in age from preschoolers to adult children with kids of their own. From coming together to celebrate family members’ birthdays and Valentine’s Day (a.k.a. "Love Day") to meeting the boyfriends and girlfriends the older Bates siblings are courting, the family always find strength and joy in working and sharing time together. 

Is it any good?

This reality show allows viewers to watch a large family clan interact with each other and the fun chaos that ensues as a result. Like the Duggars, they're part of the conservative Christian-based Quiverfull movement. However, the Bates appear slightly more secular thanks to some of the adult siblings going to college, using social media, wearing trendier clothing, and even holding hands with their boyfriends and girlfriends. 

Despite frequent references to Christianity, the family does not discuss many of the particulars of their religion. But not everyone will be comfortable with some of the values presented here, which includes clearly defined, traditional gender roles, and a push for having lots of children. Nonetheless, Bringing Up Bates is mostly focused on highlighting the importance of family, and how much they love one another. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reasons reality shows featuring big families is appealing to viewers. What makes these families interesting to watch? What are some of the controversies surrounding them? 

  • The Bates family prides itself for being very close. Do you think the siblings get along as well with each other as they do when the cameras are off? 

  • Why was Bringing Up Bates created, given that the original show was canceled? What makes this version different? 

TV details

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