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 adult clients in this dating-oriented reality show discuss issues like low self esteem, eating and weight problems, sex drive, sexuality, physical abuse, divorce, and more. Patti speaks very frankly to her clients about their appearance and behavior, an approach that might seem mean or shallow to some viewers. Clients represent a wide range of sexual preferences and histories -- depending on the episode, they might be gay, questioning, virgins, or very sexually active -- and these issues are handled directly. Expect a fair amount of profanity, with only the strongest words ("f--k") muted.
What's the story?
An antidote to the type of dating shows that seem to be all about ending up drunk in a hot tub, CONFESSIONS OF A MATCHMAKER is about helping real people find happiness. Matchmaker Patti Novak, who hails from Buffalo, New York, guides her clients through a series of steps that includes an initial interview, a breakdown of their personal history, video footage of their dates, one-on-one interviews, and follow-up meetings. Her no-nonsense approach helps her guide her clients toward attracting the right people and building successful relationships once they've found them.
Is it any good?
Patti doesn't hesitate to name a person's flaws -- in both looks and personality -- right to his or her face. For example, Patti tells a 51-year-old barber that he needs to lose some of his nearly 350 pounds and improve his table manners. Though her advice initially seems harsh, she's tapped into the problems that have kept him unhappy in the past: low self-esteem, food addiction, and not understanding what many women find attractive. When he tells Patti that he's looking for a slender woman, she jumps down his throat, accusing him of double standards and making him think twice about his attitude. Despite her critical stance, Patti has an underlying warmth and passion that's appealing -- it's obvious that she really likes helping people find love.
With plenty of drinking and salty language, as well as generally mature relationship-oriented themes, this show is meant for adults. Teens can probably handle most of the material, but the series' more real-life approach to dating might not appeal to their Blind Date-hardened perspectives.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of dating shows. How is this series different from dating shows on MTV? Which do you prefer, and why? Do you think people could actually learn something helpful from this show? Families can also discuss what makes people a good match. Do you think opposites attract, or are having things in common more important? Do you think a "middleman" -- whether a matchmaker like Patti or a dating service -- can be helpful, or do you think chance meetings are a better bet?