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Designer to the Stars: Kari Whitman
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 reality program follows the life of a celebrity interior decorator. Because viewers see both her work and personal life, there's a good deal of talk about who she finds attractive and her past dating experiences. There's also plenty of cursing, with only the worst words bleeped. Other "highlights" include a shot of Whitman driving with her knees -- her hands entirely off the wheel -- and a scene in which she wipes a dog's behind several times (viewers get an up-close look).
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What's the story?
In the hectic reality show DESIGNER TO THE STARS: KARI WHITMAN, cameras follow the day-to-day experiences of a Los Angeles-based interior designer whose work brings her into the homes of celebrities like Jessica Alba and Kristen Bell. Whitman -- a slightly wacky and always enthusiastic pouty-mouthed blonde -- zips from place to place procuring the perfect granite for a kitchen counter, then slips out for a night on the town in honor of her other great passion, dogs. Watching Whitman work -- and exercise with her trainer, get a vitamin IV, and talk about her three ex-fiancés -- can be both fascinating and irritating: She's got a strong personality that might grate on some people's nerves. But even when Whitman is being bossy or cloying, she's also endearing.
Is it any good?
Getting glimpses of celebrities in a somewhat real-life setting can be fun, so the show works as a guilty pleasure/stay-home-sick show, but it doesn't go beyond that. As the growing popularity of the home renovation industry (both on TV and in real life) demonstrates, watching a room go from "before" to "after" can be enjoyable. And teens might enjoy the celebrity eye candy, though parents should be aware that bad language flows pretty freely, with only the major words getting bleeped.
Also, while Whitman's work ethic is incredibly solid, she could also be considered a workaholic, putting work above her health and personal relationships. Not a great message for teens. On the other hand, she's a successful businesswoman with lots of confidence, and she doesn't hesitate to correct someone if they're wrong or stand up for what she believes in. Not a bad message for teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their reactions to Whitman's personality. Do you find her strong and confident or bossy and mean? Do you think you'd feel differently if she were a man? In what ways does she act stereotypically female? What does she do that goes against that stereotype? Do you think she would have gotten her own show if her clients weren't famous? Also, Whitman works even when she's wiped out by illness. Is this a good example? What's a healthy balance between work and personal life?