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 the young adults in this reality show drink profusely, sometimes to the point of vomiting. They also go to extremes seeking thrills -- such as surfing in dangerous conditions, off-roading in a truck without seat belts (and eventually crashing), and more. Some engage in destructive behavior, like smashing up a truck while drunk and angry. Friends curse at each other, and the guys' boss is particularly vicious with his profanity and anger, regularly threatening to kick in someone's face. Women are on the periphery, and the guys are shown plotting hook-ups behind a girlfriend's back. The narrator even makes fun of one girlfriend, saying that she talks too much about boring things.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
MTV's reality show LIVING LAHAINA follows a group of thrill-seeking, hormone-soaked, hard-partying twentysomething instructors at the Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy, where the guys teach tourists to hang 10, then goof off in extreme ways, surf the gorgeous Hawaiian waters, and plan hook-ups with the ladies. Shop owner Kimo is their tough-talking-but-loveable boss, who curses out the guys one minute and sheds tears the next while searching for an AWOL employee who he fears might be lost or hurt. The show's sarcastic-but-admiring narrator greets the guys as they wake up in the morning crusty-eyed, shirtless, and possibly hung over; travels with them as they giddily flip a 4x4 truck while driving off-road; and watches as they plot trysts while aiming to avoid their girlfriends' wrath.
Is it any good?
This male-oriented series (women are peripheral characters at best) may well inspire awe in teen guys who dream of a sun-drenched life full of beer and babes. You could also say that it offers proof that you can make a living pursuing your passions. Overall, it's a lighthearted look at guys having fun while engaging in some questionable (but, frankly, age-appropriate) behavior.
How questionable? Try driving off-road without wearing seat belts or paddling out into the ocean in the middle of the night while drunk. Not exactly good examples for teens (or anyone, for that matter). And, naturally, the guys deem these behaviors "cool" and "awesome." Even the fact that the Coast Guard has to be called out to search for one surf instructor who'd gone missing in a drunken hissy fit (costing unknown sums to tax payers) is brushed off.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media depicts age-appropriate behavior for young adults in their 20s. Do all twentysomethings party and carouse like the guys on this show (or like some cast members on other reality shows)? Is there a "normal" or "appropriate" amount of this kind of behavior for young adults? Many argue that testing the boundaries of safety is a normal part of reaching adulthood -- how can young adults do exciting things while staying safe? Parents, what kind of expectations do you have for your teens when it comes to drinking, working, and relationships?