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Sweet Home Alabama
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 CMT series plays a lot cleaner than other reality dating shows, thanks in part to the show's focus on "Southern" morality. Language and sexual content are extremely light, but there is violence in the form of brawling between contestants that produces a little blood. You'll also see social drinking -- and lots of stereotyping.
What's the story?
Split into rival groups of \"country boys\" and \"city boys,\" 20 hopeful suitors compete for the affections of certified Southern belle Devin Grissom, a student at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa who’s never strayed far from her SWEET HOME ALABAMA. Contestants range from a Southern gentleman who rarely removes his cowboy hat to a Jersey Shore bachelor who briefly dated Snooki.
Is it any good?
Putting a Southern spin on the now-familiar premise of reality dating shows like The Bachelorette, Sweet Home Alabama mixes the mystique of the Southern belle and the Southern gentleman into a doubtful recipe for fairytale romance. And, as many such shows have proven in the past, it hardly ever turns out right.
Of course, that doesn’t keep fans from watching, which is fine since it’s mostly harmless fun. But Devin's strict (though seemingly heartfelt) adherence to the Southern code in this case subtly takes away a lot of her power. After all, she can't even ask her own suitors out on a date, putting the ball squarely -- oh, so squarely -- in their court. What would Scarlett O'Hara have to say about that?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's handling of stereotypes. What types of generalizations does the series make about Southern women? Southern men? City folk? What's the difference between a generalization and a harmful stereotype?
What are the success rates of reality shows that purport to help people find true love? (And is the premise even possible?)
Do you think the bachelorette's suitors are really looking for romance -- or their 15 minutes of fame? What about the bachelorette herself? Why would someone agree to try and fall in love on national television?