Charm School TV Poster Image

Charm School

(i)

 

Reality spin-off is tasteless and confusing.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Confusing messages about behavior. Lessons designed to teach teamwork, sisterhood, and respect are marred by the large amount of attention paid to exactly the opposite behaviors. Some intense criticism from the judges. The women compete against each other and can get very nasty. They have some compassion for one another, but this is rarely acknowledged.

Violence

Catfights, threats of violence.

Sex

Women often dress provocatively. Flashback scenes include women making out and playing in bed with a man. Some sexy dancing/moving. Lots of cleavage and some blurred nudity. Some mention of sex.

Language

Constant stream of profanity, much of which gets bleeped -- though depending on the time of day the show is broadcast, even "f--k" makes it through uncensored. Regularly unbleeped words include "ass" and the very popular "bitch."

Consumerism

Promotion of other Flavor of Love/Rock of Love-related shows. The women are eager for the cash prize.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking, mention of hangovers; some discussion of drug use ("weed").

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality spin-off is just as cringe-worthy as the crude series that supply its contestants, Flavor of Love and Rock of Love. Most of the women dress in tight, revealing clothes, and some act in sexually suggestive ways (such as getting up on a table and dancing sexily while wearing a schoolgirl outfit). Flashbacks to the original shows include shots of the women making out and carousing. There's some discussion of drug use, and the women are sometimes seen drinking or talking about being hung over. They argue and threaten one another, and some scenes involve physical fights. Profanity is regular, though much is bleeped. Last but not least, the show sends confusing messages about "good" behavior, and the women get some intense criticism from each other and their judges.

What's the story?

Apparently, many people can't get enough of the cringe-worthy antics of the female contestants on shows like Flavor of Love and Rock of Love. Hence, CHARM SCHOOL, which takes an interesting -- if hypocritical -- tack with the wild women who once vied for Flavor Flav and Bret Michaels' affections. Declaring that the female contestants' outrageous behavior on the original show was an embarrassing display of rude, tacky tendencies, Charm School purports to teach them how to behave better. During the course of the series, they attend etiquette classes and compete in challenges that are designed to strengthen their character and add a little class to their act.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Despite moving speeches about self-respect, other elements of the show point to continued objectification of the women for the sake of "entertainment." For example, when they prepared for their first elimination round in the show's first season, the contestants were given outfits that included short schoolgirl skirts, which many of them proceeded to sex up as much as possible by hiking them up even shorter or pairing them with an unbuttoned shirt with rosary beads nestled in cleavage. And Charm School delivers plenty of confusing messages both to the women and the audience. For example, the women are told that teaming up for a rigorous obstacle course challenge is an exercise in collaboration and sisterhood, but the team captain who chooses teammates based on friendship rather than their ability to win is punished.

In some ways, Charm School is an interesting study in class and race, though this aspect of the show isn't highlighted. For instance, when a white male judge tells an African-American female contestant that she should focus on the skills she's learning instead of the cash prize, she scoffs, saying later in an interview that for her, the money could significantly change her life. Viewers who recognize how some of these women are being taken advantage of by the show and its producers might feel a little icky enjoying the strangely compelling car crash that is Charm School.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why these women wanted to be on this show. What do you think their motivation is? What can you deduce about them from their behavior? Do you think they need or want to change the way they act? If they didn't act so wild, do you think they would be on the show in the first place? What purpose does a series like this serve? Is it just meant to be a guilty pleasure?

TV details

Premiere date:April 15, 2007
Cast:Mo'Nique, Ricki Lake, Sharon Osbourne
Network:VH1
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:NR
Available on:Streaming

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Teen, 16 years old Written bylamodotcom April 9, 2008
Adult Written byshunta April 9, 2008

It was funny

Imyself was just happy to see you put Larissa and the rest of those girls off and I really hope and pray that leilen win because she is a very strong person for taking what those tramps was saying to her.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

Watched it once

i didn't see any of the bad stuff but some things they said made me cry

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