The Baby Borrowers TV Poster Image

The Baby Borrowers

(i)

 

TV experiment yields important lessons for teens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The teen "parents" are far from perfect -- some resort to swearing, crying, and temper tantrums out of frustration, while others indulge in generally bratty behavior -- but that serves to drive home the worthwhile overall message: that many teens who think they're ready for the pressures of adulthood and parenthood simply aren't. Viewers may well learn from their mistakes. The show has a diverse group of participants. The babies'/kids' real parents observe the action on closed-circuit television and can step in whenever they want to.

Violence

Some sharp verbal exchanges and slammed doors, but nothing physical.

Sex

Sexual references are rather clinical: Teens attend a seminar in which they're shown how a baby is born with the aid of a plastic model of a woman's pelvis, for example. Some cuddling and affectionate gestures between the couples, and some of the teens (none of whom are married) are shown sharing a bed -- but no sexual activity is shown.

Language

Frustrated teens spew words like "s--t" and "f--k" (both are bleeped) and "bitch" and "ass" (these are audible).

Consumerism

Teens are given a roomful of products for their babies. Visible logos include items from Graco and Buy Buy Baby.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality show offers important lessons for kids of all ages -- even though it's clearly targeting teens and their parents. Although the concept of having babies is inherently sexual, the content steers away from reproduction and focuses on the reality of what happens when a living, breathing baby (or toddler, or tween, etc.) comes into the picture. That said, the teen couples, none of whom are married, live together during filming, and some are shown sharing a bed (no sexual activity is shown). Some of the teens act out in ways that are nearly as immature as the kids they're caring for, but it all serves to drive home the show's messages about reality and responsibility. Expect some audible curse words (like "bitch" and "dumb-ass") and bleeped-out stronger language (like "f--k" and "s--t").

Parents say

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What's the story?

In THE BABY BORROWERS, five teenage couples who think they're ready for adulthood -- and everything it entails -- are given the chance to prove themselves in an accelerated social experiment. They begin by moving into a home, receiving infants, and getting jobs; three days later, they're given toddlers. By the end of the series, they'll have cared for pre-teens, teens, and even elderly "parents" who need hands-on, in-home care. Every second of the experience is captured on camera and supervised by the borrowed children's actual parents, who can step in and instruct the struggling teens whenever they feel it's necessary.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

In a buzzing primetime market that's flooded with insipid reality fare, it's nice to find a show that actually delivers something different -- with a side order of surprisingly poignant messages. Because it's based on a British show by the same name, The Baby Borrowers isn't exactly an original concept. Even so, there's nothing else like it on American television, and it's refreshing to see reality TV used for eye-opening educational purposes rather than mindless entertainment.

Part of what makes this show a worthwhile pick for families is the fact that it involves several generations: babies, teens, senior citizens, and every age in between. But since the focus is on the experiences of the overwhelmed teens who are trying to cope with the pressures of parenthood -- and who often resort to profanity in times of distress -- it's not completely age-appropriate for tweens and younger kids. Teen viewers and their parents will get the most out of it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about which of the teen couples they think could actually make it as parents and which couldn't hack it. Teens: Does watching this program change any of your assumptions about what it's like to be an adult? Which teen couple do you respect the most? The least? Parents: Does watching the teen parents in action remind you of your own experiences as first-time parents? Was there anything you wish you'd known before having kids that you had to learn after the fact?

TV details

Cast:Benjamin Nichols, Chet Nichols, Marisol Nichols
Network:NBC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of The Baby Borrowers was written by

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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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Adult Written bySpeedy April 9, 2008

What about the children?

While I did not watch this show, I did see the promotional ads for it and thought it would be interesting to watch with my 12 year old daughter. I am a public health nurse and have worked with teen and adult parents. Has anyone thought about the effect of being separated from their parents had upon the babies? Has anyone ever heard of "stranger anxiety" that infants show around the age of 9 months? How would one feel if they were separated from their familiar faces, surroundings, routines, etc and put in front of people they didn't know all in the name of "reality TV". Yes, dealing with a real child is totally different from say, a plastic doll or egg, to teach parenting to teens. But subjecting children to emotional upset, just for ratings is in my opinion, sickening.
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

amazing

this show will definitely educate teenagers who think they are ready to be parents that it is really very difficult and something that they are not yet up to. I think that by watching this, some teens will think twice about having children at such a young age and it may also cause less teenage pregnancies.
Kid, 10 years old August 9, 2009

Wonderful Show

I enjoyed it.
What other families should know
Great messages

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