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 negative reality show from the creators of The Real World doesn't fall far from the tree, zeroing in on conflict and bad behavior and passing them off as entertainment. The series follows a group of women who were selected to live together because of their inclination for negative behavior, which ranges from lying to physical violence. Don't let the TV-14 rating fool you: The antics and examples on display here aren't fit for teens (or anyone, for that matter). Conflicts between cast members -- which sometimes include physical fighting -- are the focus of the show. Cast members are often seen drinking excessively, which sometimes serves as a motivator for more violent behavior.
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What's the story?
Brought to you by the creators of The Real World, THE BAD GIRLS CLUB focuses on seven strong young women who pride themselves in being both strong and unwilling to conform to what society expects of them, proving their point by engaging in outrageously bad behavior. The members of the club include aggressive Aimee, who believes that other women are generally out to get her; Jodie, a conservative office worker who likes to have fun after hours; Ty, a tough-talking former hustler; Kerry, whose recklessness has sidetracked her country music career; adult entertainer Leslie; spoiled, angry Ripsi; and Zara, who's known in her small town as the "wild child." While living in their posh Los Angeles house, the women try to become friends while coping with one another's backstabbing, lying, cheating, and flirting. Manipulative and deviously resourceful, they all engage in their own brand of destructive behavior in order to have fun, get want they want, and -- sometimes -- get even with the other women in the house.
Is it any good?
Like any reality show, The Bad Girls Club has some soap opera-ish storylines, as well as some soul-searching among cast members as they begin to think about their own behavior as well as their relationships with their roommates. But the show's real focus is on the ladies' excessive arguing and physical fighting. While the housemates may believe that their aggressive, often-outlandish behavior empowers them, the show presents them as a group of catty, irrational girls who are more interested in creating a spectacle of themselves. It's an extremely negative, stereotypical portrayal of strong women and offers a very misguided interpretation of what assertive, self-confident women are really all about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why reality TV feeds on conflict. What messages is the show sending about how women behave and relate to each other? Do you think a show about men in a similar situation would get the same treatment? What's the difference between being assertive and self-confident versus being overly aggressive and inappropriate? Which category do the women in the show fall into? Families can also discuss the importance of fostering positive relationships among women as a source of support and empowerment.