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Great American Road Trip
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 although the competitors in this reality series are families, the show itself isn’t appropriate for all ages. Although some of the families use their experience to enjoy quality bonding time, there’s lots of bickering among team members (both adults and kids), as well as some no-holds-barred competition. And sometimes sparks fly because of contestants’ conflicting (and often over-the-top) personalities. Sporadic salty language (mostly “ass,” “freakin’,” and “sucks,” with stronger choices edited out) is also iffy for young kids.
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What's the story?
GREAT AMERICAN ROAD TRIP puts seven families behind the wheels of seven decked-out RVs and turns them loose on historic Route 66 for a cross-country adventure from Illinois to California. The four-member teams meet up at destinations along the way to compete in challenges that test their strategy, stamina, and teamwork. Each week the family in last place is sent home, while the others continue down the road toward a grand prize of $100,000.
Is it any good?
If you’ve ever been on a road trip with your own family, you know that once the novelty of the vacation wears off, there’s plenty of nerve-grating drama to be had. Now imagine that same road trip with cameras at every turn and the pressure of daily competition, and you’ll get a sense of the exaggerated drama in this reality series. The contestants' strong personalities and cultural differences keep things unpredictable ... and also contribute to plenty of bickering.
If a silver lining is to be found, it’s in the fact that some of the families do use the opportunity to bond over the vacation of a lifetime. The show also lets viewers glimpse some lesser-known but worthwhile sites along the road less traveled. But for family viewing, the show’s thin content and somewhat salty language (“ass,” “freakin’,” and “sucks” are common fare) make it iffy for young kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about reality TV. How realistic do you find this “reality” show? Do you think any of the contestants put on an act for the cameras, or are they acting naturally? Why are we so intrigued by shows that depict people at their worst?
Do we hold reality stars to the same standards as traditional celebrities? Do you think producers favor eccentric personalities when they cast shows like this one?
Think about ways that your own family can bond. Tweens: What would your ideal family vacation be? How would you travel? What would you like to see? How much would it cost?