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 reinforces stereotypes and is generally in pretty poor taste. It constantly plays up the level of animosity between the two groups of characters: The wealthy ones show zero respect to for poor ones, who, in turn, do little to hide their disgust for their privileged counterparts.
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What's the story?
The one-hour reality series SURVIVAL OF THE RICHEST pairs wealthy people with individuals struggling with debt in a race to see who can best work together to remain the last standing after a series of grueling challenges. Hosted by Hal Sparks (Queer as Folk), the series brings together 14 twenty-somethings in a Southern California mansion: Seven of them are trust-fund types with a combined net worth of $3 billion, while the other seven working-class folks have a collective debt of $150,000. Each week, the seven teams (each made up of one rich person and one poor) are given challenges -- such as cleaning out the stalls at a local race track or building a Habitat for Humanity house. The last team standing walks away with $200,000. What's in it for the wealthy contestants? The chance to prove that they can live without their parents' money.
Is it any good?
Frankly, there is nothing redeeming about this series. The contestants struggling with debt are belittled by the wealthy, whose arrogance is on full display. Case in point: During a challenge in which the teams have to wait on families attending a mock medieval party, Nick, heir to a hotel fortune, sneers, "I'm serving chicken to the second-class citizens of Orange County."
In the same episode, Elizabeth, a 23-year-old worth over $1 billion, notes when changing into her work clothes and putting belongings into a locker: "I'm worried about leaving my stuff in here. It probably cost more than these people's houses." What's perhaps the saddest about the show is that the poor contestants are there because they need the money, while it appears to be little more than a comical experiment for their rich counterparts.