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 because the 2009 season of this reality show brings infidelity and divorce front and center, we increased our recommended age. The accusations and their consequences have spawned a media frenzy, with each parent looking terrible. Otherwise, the show remains focused on how the parents (especially mom Kate) often respond to chaos-imposed stress by bickering and picking at each other. While adult viewers will probably empathize with their tense emotions, young kids may not understand the context of the heated comments and could be upset by them -- especially since infidelity is a subject that kids under 12 won't be able to grasp, and divorce is one that is likely to upset them. Even then, this show is best reserved for older viewers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Jon and Kate Gosselin and their boisterous brood -- twins Cara and Mady and sextuplets Hannah, Alexis, Leah, Collin, Joel, and Aaden -- have spawned a mini-industry of "multiples" reality shows. The early episodes proved that when it comes to managing a hectic family life, where there's a will, there's always a way. But the 2009 season polarizes the parents' relationship with accusations of infidelity and a fall-out that includes filing for divorce. While the bulk of what you'll see will still revolve around birthday parties and seasonal outings, the series does somewhat exploit the daily ups and downs of life with two energetic sets of multiples. Expect to see plenty of footage of the physical and emotional challenges of balancing the children's individual needs with the struggle for harmony at home.
Is it any good?
We can't imagine why kids would want to see this show. But we can see how parents might get some enjoyment out of it, since they can relate to many of the issues Jon and Kate face (if on a slightly smaller scale). But some parents may be turned off by the frequently snide comments that Kate makes about Jon, both in his presence and out of it. ("He takes longer to get ready than I do, and that's really irritating," or "Can you please help me instead of playing with toys?") Her seeming negativity, while understandable in her situation, often becomes the focal point of the show, and young viewers won't fully understand the stresses that lead the adults to talk to and about each other the way they do.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media portrays families. Is there a "standard" family type in today's TV shows?
We recommend that parents who do let their kids see this show talk about the issues is raises and inject their wisdom and experience into the scenes the show portrays.