Quints by Surprise

 
"Big family" reality show is more appealing than most.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn a little about what it's like to care for so many small children.

Positive messages

The show is mostly about taking what life gives you and rolling with it, as well as focusing on what's truly important -- like family and love.

Positive role models

The parents are mostly good role models. They're very focused on their children, and the family is very supportive of one another. Dad Ethan can be a little more pessimistic, but overall, he's focused on the good things that he has, and while he's worried about his family and supporting them, he remains confident that he can keep everything going. There's some traditional gender role reinforcement, with the women being primarily responsible for taking care of the babies, although Ethan is active, too.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking; in one scene, one of the babies goes after mommy and daddy's beer -- but they're good at keeping it out of inquisitive little hands.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's little here that isn't age-appropriate for even very young kids -- though it's likely to have more appeal for tweens and up. The quints are babies, so they do fall down and get hurt, and they cry a lot. And people do step in poopy diapers (and with five toddlers, there are plenty of diapers), and you'll see the occasional naked baby backside. But it's all taken in stride, and the show's overall messages about appreciating family and love are very positive.

What's the story?

QUINTS BY SURPRISE centers on the Jones family -- dad Ethan, mom Casey, and their kids. Ethan and Casey had fertility issues; they had one baby, a girl, by in vitro insemination. Once she got older, they decided to try it again ... and ended up with quintuplets. Then the recession hit. Now, Ethan and Casey are still married and loving each other, but things have been tough of late. As a contractor, Ethan has had a hard time getting enough jobs to get the bills paid, let alone keep five toddlers in diapers. Meanwhile, Casey stays at home to take care of the kids.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Shows like Quints by Surprise are a dime a dozen these days. But something about the Jones' story is very appealing. They're worried about surviving.  They had bought their oversized house thinking they could sell it relatively easily, only to be caught by surprise by the quints' birth. Now, they have to sell it because they can't afford it.

But while the Jonese may be down, they're definitely not out.  Anyone would be worried in their situation, but they stay pretty optimistic and look for ways to make everything work. And the show's storytelling is fast paced enough -- and poignant enough -- that you're willing to watch them do it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how real the show is.  Do you think the family acts the same way when the cameras aren't there?

  • Do you think it's a good idea for the kids to be on TV like this? What do you think will happen to the kids as they get older?

  • What would you film for a TV show about your own family?

TV details

Network:TLC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Quints by Surprise was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bystripesanddots April 6, 2011
age 5+
 
I love this show! The family is very real and realatable and it's totally clean.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6 and 13 year old Written byheathered72 October 1, 2010
age 5+
 

Our entire family enjoys this show

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 15, 16, and 17 year old Written byGranadaHills September 26, 2010
age 12+
 

I can relate to these guys . . . great show.

Love the show. This is the first family of "multiples" I can really relate to. They are very real. More than anything, though, the show is just better than others like it. It moves a little faster and my daughter and son have gotten to where they won't miss it. Great to finally have "real" role models on TV your kids enjoy.

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