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 House Of Ho is an unscripted series that features a wealthy American multigenerational family that is constantly negotiating their traditional Vietnamese values with more liberal, Western ways of life. There’s a significant amount of cursing, conversations about arrests and wild behavior, and rifles are used during hunting trips. Wine, cocktails, and champagne are consumed during meals and social events, and lots of brands are discussed or featured, including Hewlett Packard, Cadillac, Ferrari, and Yves St. Laurent, just to name a few. The series highlights the importance of having a strong work ethic, and shows how this led to the massive success of an immigrant couple who arrived in the U.S. with nothing.
What's the story?
Inspired by the film Crazy Rich Asians, HOUSE OF HO is an unscripted series featuring a wealthy, Houston-based, multigenerational American Vietnamese family. After the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, Binh and his wife Hue immigrated to the United States with no money and no mastery of the English language. But over the years Binh moved up from being a gasoline attendant to building a banking and real estate investing business, and Hue went from spending 16 hours a day working at a convenience store to supporting him as he pursued his business ventures. Thanks to their extraordinary hard work and success, their adult Ho children, Washington, Judy, and Reagan, along with Washington’s wife Lesley, now enjoy a privileged lifestyle that most people can only dream of. Adding to the fray is Binh’s sister Tina, who lives life on her own terms, and cousin Sammy, who assists Washington with his business dealings. They are a tight-knit family, and are very proud of all that Binh and Hue have accomplished. But the younger generation of Hos, who were born and raised in the U.S., are constantly negotiating their desire to live on their own terms while trying to please their traditional parents.
Is it any good?
This voyeuristic series shows how a large and wealthy multigenerational American family balances the traditional cultural norms and expectations of their Vietnamese heritage while living large in Houston, Texas. The Hos enjoy luxury homes, private jet flights, and expensive cars, but also remind viewers that their lives center around hard work, supporting each other, and continuing the family legacy. Judy, Lesley and Samantha also point out the challenges that female members of the Ho family face, thanks to Binh and Hue’s traditional, and (according to Western standards) patriarchal, ways of thinking.
The overall series offers lots of typical reality fare, but much of it is contextualized within this "East versus West" narrative. Those familiar with Vietnamese (and certain other) Asian cultures may not be surprised by some of what is presented here. However, those who aren’t might cringe at more than a few of the family members’ antics on camera, including those of eldest son Washington, who is open about his sense of entitlement and the role this has played in his marriage. Nonetheless, House of Ho never ceases to use itself as an example of how the American Dream is possible if you’re willing to work hard for it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it takes to be financially successful in the United States. The Hos demonstrate how a strong work ethic and supportive family have helped them achieve the level of wealth and success they enjoy. But are there other factors that impact people’s ability to find success in America?
Asian-American communities have historically been underrepresented and stereotyped in entertainment media. Why? Is the House of Ho a realistic TV representation of an Asian American family? Is it a positive one?
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