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 series emphasizes animosities, love triangles, and other issues among a select group of former high school classmates. The participants are branded by high school stereotypes like "jock," "rebel," and "spoiled girl," and many are forced to confront peers who have done them emotional harm in the past, leading to lots of heated moments. The series also plays up budding romances among the former classmates, showing several passionate make-out sessions and encouraging them to test the waters with different people. Drinking is central to nearly every scene, and photos often show the classmates drinking and smoking when they were teens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When 14 former classmates from JJ Pearce High School in Texas converge at a luxurious Hawaiian estate for their 20-year reunion, rest and relaxation aren't the only things on the agenda. For some, including bully Jason and his erstwhile victim, Glenn, there are hurt feelings to sort out. Others, like class hottie Deanna, are hoping to discover that they overlooked a soul mate two decades ago. HIGH SCHOOL REUNION follows the classmates as they reconnect with their peers and re-evaluate who they were in high school -- and who they are now.
Is it any good?
The series is produced by the team behind The Bachelor, and it suffers from many of the same issues that plague its popular counterpart. Controversy among the participants is dramatized and lingered over -- whether it's the geek who's seeking an apology from his teen nemesis or the woman trying to smooth things over between her ex-husband and his ex-friend (her ex-lover), every heated moment within the group is played up for entertainment. The show also has a lot of sexual content, practically encouraging hook ups among the peers and focusing on their romantic encounters.
The series has a definite hook for adults, since they probably can relate to at least one of the classmates and appreciate their reflections on how time can change a person's perspective. For mature viewers, there's little harm -- and a fair amount of guilty pleasure -- to be had in watching. But the show's reliance on stereotypes, sexual content, and constant drinking (someone's sipping or chugging something in nearly every scene) make it pretty iffy choice for teens, who are likely to get a skewed impression of responsible adult behavior.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why the former classmates drink so frequently. Is it just social, or could there be deeper reasons? Keep in mind that, based on the photos shown from when they were teens, many of them have been drinking and smoking together for decades. What message does the show send about alcohol to teenagers who might be watching now? Families can also discuss what draws viewers to shows like this. Are the participants' situations relatable? How much of the content do you think is true, and how much is dramatized or edited for impact?