Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch

 
(i)

 

Dating show fumbles with antics that objectify women.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show sends the message that, in the spirit of cutting down a dating pool, it's perfectly fine to judge women on appearances alone. Women are also asked to wear revealing uniforms and do pseudo-demeaning things that are expressly designed to show off their bodies.

Positive role models

Once the show gets going, Ochocinco actually reveals himself to be a pretty good guy who doesn't drink, rejects the party lifestyle, and seems to want women who are more than just bimbos. But his willingness to let the female contestants be objectified in his name stands out against his better qualities.

Violence

Verbal sparring between some contestants can be heated, but it never gets physical.

Sex

In addition to kissing and embracing, there are shirtless guys and girls in bikinis, plus shots of female contestants' short-shorted backsides. Some girls refer to their "big boobs" as big assets.

Language

Lots of swearing; words like "bitch," "ass," and "hell" are audible, while stronger choices ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) are bleeped. Contestants flick the middle finger (although it's blurred).

Consumerism

The show promotes Ochocinco's personal brand and sometimes highlights other brand names, like fashion designer Oday Shakar.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The house has a fully loaded bar, and some of the girls start drinking right away. Most remain in control, but a few overindulge.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this VH1 reality series is a bit tamer than a lot of other dating competitions on TV, it's still not a great choice for older teens. As far as language goes, some of the female contestants scream at each other, using bleeped
swearing ("f--k" and "s--t") and audible insults like "tramp" and
"bitch." And, particularly in the beginning, women are portrayed as sexual objects and are valued mostly for their bodies. There's also some kissing, along with skimpy outfits and suggestive talk, and alcohol plays a big role in some girls' partying.

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What's the story?

In OCHOCINCO: THE ULTIMATE CATCH, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (whose real name was Chad Johnson before he legally changed it in 2008 to match his jersey number, 85) is trying to find true love. And since he loves the number 85 anyway, he's starting with a pool of that many women and quickly whittling it down to just 16 -- who then get to live together in a mansion and compete for his affections. Only one lucky contestant, however, will win the final prize: a diamond-encrusted platinum ring that bears his favorite number.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Ochocinco might indeed be looking for love. But, much like his former NFL star friend Terrell "T.O." Owens (of The T.O. Show) and fellow VH1 reality dating star Ray J (For the Love of Ray J), he's looking for love in all the wrong places. Most TV dating competitions are laughable in their likelihood of resulting in serious matches. But this one really dials up the gimmick factor with objectifying challenges and a borderline-offensive structure that literally pits women against each other in an NCAA-style bracket.

The worst part is the way the female contestants are treated right
before the initial "cut" is made: They're all stuffed into cut-off football
jerseys and tiny shorts and made to do jiggly jumping jacks while chanting Ocho's name. (This allows Ocho to cut about one-quarter of the pool based on looks alone, mumuring, "You been cut, baby girl," in each of their ears.) Later on,
they're asked to tackle a "hugging sled" and show off their backsides while Ocho and his friend ogle them, and another dozen or so are asked to hit the showers. Less than 10 minutes into the show, about half the girls are gone ... and he hasn't even talked to them yet.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the female contestants were judged in the first round. Why were the first dozen or so women sent away? Why were they deemed less desirable than the others?

  • Do you think Ochocinco is looking for "real" love with true intentions? And, if so, is a reality dating show really the best way to do it? Why might he have agreed to star in a show like this? What does he get out of it?

  • What messages is the show sending about dating and competition, particularly among women? Do shows like this one encourage women to get along? Why do we find them entertaining?

TV details

Cast:Chad Ochocinco
Network:VH1
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch was written by

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