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 documentary-like reality show is about young people (ages 18-22) getting married. Viewers see real people dealing with the stress of wedding preparations; naturally, plenty of arguments -- ranging from eye-rolling passive aggressiveness to screaming matches -- ensue. Couples and their families sometimes discuss sex (especially wedding-night sex), religious beliefs, and financial matters. Bachelor-party antics include the groom-to-be wearing women's underwear in public.
What's the story?
Reality series ENGAGED & UNDERAGE takes a voyeuristic look at the days leading up to the weddings of couples between the ages of 18 and 22, documenting each pair's final big-day preparations and then follows up with them a few months after the wedding. Along with dealing with the stress of getting ready for their ceremonies, many of the featured couples also have to defend their decision to marry young. In one episode, for example, family members try to dissuade a young Christian couple who are looking forward to marriage so that they can finally have sex. The groom's father explains how much his son will miss out on, while the bride's brother tells her how his friends never offer congratulations, just questions, when he explains that his little sister is getting married. The show hones in on couples' other issues, too -- like one groom's extremely close relationship with his mother, which doesn't sit well with the bride.
Is it any good?
At just a half an hour, including commercials, each episode of Engaged and Underage flies by, offering only the briefest glimpses into these young people's lives. The brevity with which the show addresses the bride and groom's serious life choices ultimately feels sort of insulting. And although teens in serious relationships might be drawn to the couples' romantic idealism, more mature viewers may feel sympathy (and even pity) for the naïve duos.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about marriage. Parents, if you're married, how old were you when you said, "I do"? Would you want your kids to get married at around the same age? How can the age at which you get married affect your life? What are the pros and cons of marrying young? How about marrying when you're older? Does watching this show change your opinion of marriage at all?