Meet My Folks

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Meet My Folks TV Poster Image
Dump this reality show for objectifying women.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series makes a woman the object of a weekend-long competition, in which she gets little say in which contestant wins her supposed affections. Most of the show focuses on unearthing secrets from the guys' pasts rather than on getting to know their personalities. The young woman and her parents often seem to revel in the guys' obvious discomfort and take advantage of the opportunity to make them do humiliating things.

Violence
Sex

Occasional kissing and mention of sexual experience, habits, and desires. In confessionals, contestants brag about being good kissers or good in bed, but the references are vague. Some skimpy swimsuits/clothes, hot tub scenes, etc.

Language

"Damn," "hell," etc. Stronger words are bleeped.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this uncomfortable reality series -- which follows three men competing for an exotic vacation with a young woman they've just met -- doesn't do women any favors. The "prize" has little say in which suitor her parents choose to accompany her (which is perhaps why some are quick to offer harsh criticisms of both the winner and their parents' decision process). And the parents often take advantage of their position, asking the contestants to do embarrassing things, combing their pasts for dirty secrets, and bringing in family, friends, and ex-girlfriends to spill even more. All of this -- in addition to the guys' obvious discomfort -- is played for humor. Plus, there's flirting, social drinking, skimpy outfits, and lots of talk about sexuality, including bragging about performance.

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What's the story?

In MEET MY FOLKS, three bachelors vie for an exotic vacation with the supposed girl of their dreams. But unlike similar reality shows (The Bachelor), these hopefuls aren't particularly concerned about winning the affections of their intended. Here, it's the parents they need to impress, since they're the ones ultimately calling the shots. Each episode introduces three new guys and a 20-something woman, who, despite being the contest's main attraction, takes a definite backseat role after being introduced. The men then bunk in with the family for a long weekend, during which they're at Mom and Dad's beck and call, being put through a series of uncomfortable tasks to test their will and dedication (not to mention their patience).

Is it any good?

Unbeknownst to their hosts, the guys are assigned pranks (spilling a drink on the father at dinner, for example) that are designed to upset the parents and create friction in the household. The contestants' pasts are also combed for dirty secrets about everything from bad hygiene to phone-sex addictions, all of which is revealed to the entire group for maximum embarrassment. Ex-girlfriends are invited to spill the beans on messy breakups and sexual habits, and the parents hook the guys up to lie-detector machines to better gauge their intentions. Throughout the process, the woman in question sits dutifully beside her parents, laughing with them at the guys' discomfort but otherwise remaining closed-lipped about her own impressions of the contestants. She's allowed one outing with each suitor, which often leads to kissing and physical closeness on screen but rarely plays into the parents' ultimate decision. The losers are eventually eliminated, leaving the one voted most suitable packing his bags for Hawaii and eyeing his beautiful prize ... who may or may not be pleased with Mom and Dad's choice.

There's so much wrong with this supposed "reality" series that it's difficult to know where to begin. As if placing a woman's affections at the heart of a contest in which she has no say isn't bad enough, there's also the upsetting nature of the parents' humiliating treatment of the guys. And the show promotes the idea that it's possible to gauge a person's trustworthiness -- enough to send your daughter away with him -- with a few silly challenges and one polygraph test. In the end, you're left wondering exactly which reality this show is based upon. While it's tempting to envision a world in which you can hand-pick your daughter's boyfriend, one would hope that the playing field would offer more than three contestants with questionable pasts and hopes for an all-expenses-paid vacation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of reality shows. What makes reality TV such a draw? What, if anything, is real about these shows? Also, how likely do you think people are to find real, lasting love on a reality show? Can the contestants really get to know each other in front of a camera? What impression do shows like this one give viewers about dating and love? What messages do they send about sexuality?

TV details

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