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Mama's Boys of the Bronx
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 Mama's Boys of the Bronx -- about thirty-something Italian-American men living at home with their moms -- contains some strong bleeped language ("f--k," "s--t"), drinking, strong sexual references, and cigarette/cigar smoking. It also highlights some sexist attitudes about the role of men and women in society. There are some mild arguments between the men and their parents, but the show also contains positive themes about family and friendship.
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What's the story?
The reality series MAMA'S BOYS OF THE BRONX feature a circle of five thirty-something Italian-American bachelors who grew up together in the Bronx, and are now enjoying adulthood while happily being taken care of by their mothers. The mama's boys include construction worker Anthony, who lives with mother Patti; personal trainer Chip, who lives with his mom Camille; and the hot-tempered Frankie, who lives with him mom Gina. Also part of the gang is Giovanni, who lives with his Aunt Gina; and Peter, the youngest of the group, who is an aspiring actor and substitute teacher living with his divorced dad, Gus. Although they all enjoy the good food and other perks that come with living at home, it has its drawbacks, including constantly being nagged about finding a nice Italian girl and getting married. While some of the guys are looking for a committed relationship, most of them simply enjoy looking good, living large at their old haunts in Little Italy on Arthur Avenue, and being doted on at home.
Is it any good?
The show takes a light-hearted and voyeuristic look at the lives of Italian-American mammonis, specific men of Italian heritage in their 30s and 40s who are employed, successful, attractive, and who proudly remain dependent on their mothers to take care of them until they choose to get married. It also reveals how their mothers (and other parental figures) reinforce this dependency by their desire to have them live at home, and by cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry for them.
What is presented here may appear comical or troubling to some viewers, but it is a lifestyle that has its historical roots in older, more traditional Italian values that encouraged children to remain at home until they got married. It is also one that reinforces the importance of family, as well as largely sexist attitudes about men and women. It's somewhat interesting, and certainly offers an entertaining look at this distinctive segment of the Italian-American community.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the term "mama's boy." What does it really mean? Is it intended to be a positive or negative characterization in American culture? What about in other cultures? Is it a stereotypical term? Why or why not?
How does the media characterize men and boys? What are the negative and positive messages boys get from TV and movies?
For kids who love reality shows
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