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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 reality series attempts to make over young women (ages 18-20) who are known for their spoiled "mean girl" behavior. While the overall values presented in the show -- including the benefits of being a good person and looking within yourself to build self esteem -- are positive, the fact that the girls' main incentive to change their diva-like ways is a cash prize sends conflicting messages. There's also some yelling and arguing among the cast members, some generally catty behavior, some iffy language ("bitch," "ass," "crap"), and conversations about inappropriate behavior.
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What's the story?
Unbeknownst to them, seven \"mean girls\" from across the country were nominated to participate in QUEEN BEES by friends and family members who were tired of their diva-like antics. Now they have to live together in L.A. and participate in a variety of challenges (a beauty contest in front of blind judges, getting to know a group of boys with the lights turned out so that reactions are based on personality instead of looks, etc.) designed to force them to reevaluate themselves -- and hopefully change their way. To make sure the young women's transition from nasty to nice is legit, their every move is monitored. They must also work with talk show therapist Dr. Michelle (from The Tyra Banks Show) to help explore the source of their narcissism. At the end of each week, participants are scored based on how much they've changed for the better. Whoever demonstrates the biggest, most positive transformation at the end of the series wins $25,000.
Is it any good?
Hosted by America's Next Top Model winner Yoanna House, Queen Bees attempts to combat the negative behavior that's often celebrated on reality television. It promotes the value of being a good person and highlights the idea that women must look within (and beyond) themselves rather than hurting others to build their self-esteem. There's a strong focus on teaching the women to see the inner beauty of both themselves and others, as well as an ongoing theme about learning what they have to offer beyond good looks and great hair. But motivating these women to change their behavior by dangling a cash prize in front them makes their soul-searching seem rather insincere. It also sends some conflicting messages about the reasons why people should do the right thing.
Most teens will be able to handle the show, but some of its iffy content makes it a bit too mature for tweens. In addition to some salty language and cattiness, the women share stories about their pasts -- including conversations about faked miscarriages, jealousy, fights, cheating with their friends' boyfriends, and other inappropriate behavior. But it's fair to say that this reality show does offer some teachable moments that just might make young women stop and evaluate their own behavior, both good and bad, a little bit more closely.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether reality shows can really help people improve their lives. Do you think these women will really be different when the series is over? Why are people willing to go on television and participate in normally private activities, like therapy sessions? Families can also discuss the young women's behavior. Teens: Do you recognize/relate to any of the things they do? Do you know anyone who acts like that? How do people react? What do you think motivates people to behave like this? Do you think reality shows that encourage positive values are as popular as those that promote negative ones? Why or why not?