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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 this spin-off of Run's House is an age-appropriate choice for older tweens and teens who insist on watching a reality show -- and wary parents who've seen too many bad examples elsewhere on television. Vanessa and Angela are in their early 20s, but unlike many other young women their age on TV, they carry themselves with dignity and respect. Their conversations are clean (instead of relying on bleeped-out curse words), and typical reality show antics simply don't apply. The only real red flag is consumerism, as the series is an obvious means to promote the girls' fledgling fashion brand, Pastry. From that perspective, it functions as one long commercial for the girls and their goods.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
After living under their parents' roof (and appearing on their father's hit reality show, Run's House) for four years, sisters Angela and Vanessa Simmons are leaving Saddle River, N.J., behind and moving to Los Angeles to open a West Coast branch of their footwear and accessories company, Pastry. Their cousin Jessica has also uprooted from Brooklyn, armed with a business degree and marching orders to help the girls succeed with the launch -- in the meantime, she's sleeping on their couch. Rounding out the foursome is the girls' longtime friend, Alycia, a California-born singer who's conveniently moved into their building to be closer to the action.
Is it any good?
Although DADDY'S GIRLS is marketed as a reality show, the action comes across as pretty scripted and contrived; it kind of feels like a sitcom without the laugh track. In one episode, for example, the sisters go for a walk and conveniently end up at a wildlife habitat for mountain lions and rattlesnakes, just as dad calls Angela's cell phone. But, of course, the signal is bad, setting up a joke for dad and mom to think she bought a mountain lion -- or even worse, that she was attacked by one. Back at the apartment, there's someone at the door, and the girls toss confetti into the air, thinking it's their cousin, Jessica. But, surprise! It's just their neighbor, Alycia, who's dropped by to give them a housewarming gift. Seconds later, Jessica arrives ... almost as if on cue. You get the idea.
While adults might not be interested in the over-produced exploits of these affluent 20-somethings, tweens and teens will find them likeable -- and the best news for parents is that they're surprisingly good role models. In fact, they make respecting yourself and your body look cool, which is a much-needed antidote to the onslaught of negative messages young girls get from other reality programming on MTV and elsewhere (The Bad Girls Club, anyone?). When it comes to this slice of "reality," Angela and Vanessa might be working from a script ... but at least they're modeling behavior that's worth watching.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how much of this series is "reality" and how much is carefully planned and/or scripted. Do you think the show has a definite structure, or is it all haphazardly caught on camera? How much of a role do you think the show's producers play in shaping what will happen in a given episode? As for Vanessa and Angela, do you think they pay their own way when it comes to their business, the apartment they live in, the clothes they wear, and the restaurants they frequent, or do you think Reverend Run is footing the bill?