What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a frank, if simplistic, look at Africa's racial, cultural, and economic issues, as well as a travel show. Beautiful mountains and surfing scenes are juxtaposed with tours of shanty towns and lessons about apartheid.
What's the story?
The eight American women featured in MOMS ON THE ROAD: AFRICA have only two things in common: All have kids, and none has ever left the United States before. That's about to change thanks to the Travel Channel, which has recruited the women for a six-week journey across Africa that will take them from shanty-town orphanages to five-star hotels. Every fan of reality TV will guess that the trip won't be without conflict and change, and they're right -- but in this series, the tensions come from racial and cultural differences as well as personality clashes. It's the show's frank approach to race, class, and culture both in Africa and among the American women that makes it worth watching as a family.
Is it any good?
The fact that the featured women are all moms is essentially a gimmick -- a way to tie them all together. Some kids might like contemplating how their own mom might fare on the trip, but this isn't a show for kids to watch on their own.
What it is, is a great family alternative to shows like Survivor -- Moms on the Road has all the same angst and drama, but with something a little more than competition and money at the bottom of it. When the black American women clash after having different reactions to their first experience of Africa, or women with different politics are faced with the stark economic reality of the third world -- now you're talking conflict, the kind that could get a family talking about some of the same issues.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the show's cultural lessons about Africa and its current problems, particularly the huge economic divide between rich and poor. How is life in Africa different from life in the United States? What problems does America have that are similar to those in Africa? Why are different parts of the world so unlike one another? Is it important to visit other parts of the world? Why? Families can also discuss the women's reactions and how the two countries' problems are reflected in the relationships among the women.