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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this spin-off of My Super Sweet 16 -- which, in an attempt to see if the former spoiled-rotten birthday bashers can outgrow their bratty behavior, follows them as they're shipped off to foreign countries to live with indigenous tribes -- is much more worthwhile than its parent show. It focuses on change for the better, rather than temper tantrums and entitlement. That said, there are some brief scenes from the kids' earlier MTV appearances that include strong language and other rude behavior, and some of the frustrated "exilees" are likely to mouth off as well. Some of the tribal rituals include animal sacrifices, which could be disturbing to sensitive viewers.
What's the story?
EXILED reintroduces TV viewers to some of the most notorious party throwers featured on the network's infamous My Super Sweet 16. Two years after their big bashes, these kids are still out of control. But this time, their parents lay down the law and give them the ultimate reality check: Each Sweet 16 veteran is sent to a remote location to live with an indigenous tribe for a week. The goal? To teach these entitled kids to appreciate how other people their age live around the world -- and to recognize how good their own lives are.
Is it any good?
As these young people struggle through a week without beds, showers, or designer shoes, they do begin to appreciate what they have at home and understand the importance of having a strong work ethic. But, like its parent series, the show still manages to take things to extremes. Rather than having their spoiled kids volunteer for one of the many less-exotic, underserved communities in this country, the parents send their progeny to international locations that most people only dream about visiting. Meanwhile, the various communities that the kids live in -- as well as the jobs they're asked to do -- are often presented as primitive, which reinforces stereotypes about these countries and their people.
On the positive side, these clueless young people do seem to develop some sort of self-awareness after their week in "exile." Some even get embarrassed about their excessive materialism and how they live at home. It's hard to tell whether these revelations lead to life-long transformations, but at least these teens will be able to look back at their experience and remember that there are people out there who aren't as privileged as they are. And those are great lessons for them to learn -- but you can't help but wonder whether their parents will ever catch on that these are the kinds of things they should be teaching their kids at home.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether reality shows can really help people improve their lives. Can people can truly change after only one week of living a different life? Why do you think the producers chose to send these kids to remote locations -- to help them or to make the show more appealing to viewers? Families can also discuss how different cultures are presented in the media. How can the media avoid stereotypes while still highlighting other cultures' unique characteristics and challenges?