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 dating game show contains questionable messages about relationships, honesty, and sexual behavior. Young men and women compete against each other to date an attractive, single member of the opposite sex. They insult their opponent using words like "bitch" and "skank" and criticize their appearance and intelligence. Competitors sometimes act in highly sexual ways, like eating food out of the single person's mouth or licking their lips suggestively. At times the sexual undertones become explicit (such as when one female competitor said "You think that's hot, you should see me in bed!"). Discussion of sex acts and body parts are often explicit. The show's premise rests on the fact that the contestants are being recorded without their knowledge and their voice is being put through lie detection software.
What's the story?
In MTV's dating show EXPOSED, two friends work together to find a date for one of them. One (usually the more conventionally attractive one) goes out to meet his or her two choices, while the other stays behind in a disguised truck, secretly monitoring the meeting on video. First, the dater engages the two potential mates in awkward, often-ridiculous conversation while the friend back in the truck checks voice-stress software that allegedly determines who's telling the truth and who's lying and then communicates the information back to the dater through an earpiece. After the dater and the two dates have a meal together and the question-and-answer period is over, the dater reveals the lie-detection aspect of the show. The \"contestants\" are usually quite surprised; they're then given a chance to recant any of their statements and the daters return to the truck to discuss their options with their friend before making their final selection.
Is it any good?
Exposed is a cringe-worthy example of what people will do to get on television. The premise is based on the idea that people will lie to get you to like them, and that if you could only tell the difference between the liars and the truth-tellers, you could choose the right person to date. Part of the show's drama involves the supposed animosity between the two potential mates. In one episode, for example, two young women hurled insults at each other, using names like "skank" and "dirty mutt" and deriding each other's looks, from skin color to hair weave to body type. This alone would be disturbing enough, but even worse is the fact that they seem sort of half-hearted about it -- like they're being coached to be as rude as possible.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about honesty in a relationship. Do you think it's OK for your partner to lie to you? If so, under what circumstances? Have you ever been lied to in a relationship? How did that feel? How accurate do you think the lie-detecting technology used on this show is? Parents and kids can also discuss their own rules and values around teen dating.