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 this series includes lots of useful tips for cleaning and organizing your house. The hostess often puts down her students' lack of housekeeping skills, but the tone is light overall, and she always seems to chuckle alongside her exasperation. The series' competition aspect is downplayed; the focus is on making life-changing strategies at home. While selling tweens and teens on a series like this one could be difficult, those who tune in might get tips for organizing their own belongings.
What's the story?
Each week on PERFECT HOUSEWIVES, so-called \"British Martha Stewart\" Anthea Turner opens her manicured home to two students in need of guidance and inspiration in their housekeeping endeavors. Turner puts them through a veritable home-based boot camp, showing them the finer points of making beds, doing laundry, organizing unruly rooms, and entertaining. She nitpicks wayward habits, downplays rationales for past failures (kids' schedules, hobbies, busy families -- nothing is excuse enough for her!), and offers tricks of the trade from successful housewives like herself. After their instructional weekend, the students head home with one week to undo their errant ways, re-organize their belongings, and plan for an in-home social function they must cater and host. A follow-up white-glove visit from Turner -- plus video footage of the party -- give her the information she needs to name one of the contestants that week's Perfect Housewife, who gets a fancy bag of cleaning goodies, bragging rights among their friends, and a newfound air of confidence at home.
Is it any good?
The transformations that Turner's students make in their cluttered lives are amazing, and viewers will no doubt pick up some helpful hints they can use at home, too. You could argue that the show reinforces some dated gender roles, and you probably won't have much luck enticing kids to sit through a show about cleaning, but in the end, Perfect Housewives is a harmless show that offers some truly helpful tips.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how reality shows can help people learn new things. What's the main goal of series like this one -- education or entertainment? How "real" is reality TV in general? Are any reality shows more believable or relatable than others? Which ones? Families can also talk about organizational strategies they can use in their own homes. Which of Turner's tips for cleaning and organizing did you find helpful? What factors get in the way of keeping a house clean? Do family members have cleaning responsibilities? Do they usually stay on task?