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 show focuses on people who are going through divorce -- subject matter that could be upsetting for viewers (particularly teens) who've been affected by it in real life. Many of the show's participants yell and cry while they try to process their anger and grief around the breakup; some enact elaborate pretend revenge scenarios. It has fairly mild language for primetime ("bitch," "hell").
What's the story?
In this reality show that delves into the painful process of divorce, men and women attempt to heal and transform themselves with the help of a life coach and three famous exes now dubbed THE EX-WIVES CLUB. Hosted by semi-celebrities/notable exes Marla Maples (Donald Trump's second ex), Shar Jackson (ex-girlfriend of Kevin Federline), and Angie Everhart (dumped by Sylvester Stallone), the show explores the pain of a split with the goal of helping the ladies' protégés evolve into stronger people. Life coach Debbie Ford, author of Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life, leads the brokenhearted through emotional group sessions in which she encourages them to fully feel the pain of the break.
Is it any good?
Watching the exes go through the wringer isn't easy. In one group session, for example, Ford asks folks to remember the cruel words their exes spoke to them during the divorce process, which leaves one man crying and trembling with incredible grief and anger. The ladies are quick to tap into their subjects' anger, too -- Ford leads the group in a blindfolded shouting exercise, in which they scream and yell empowering messages, letting their rage out in the process; in other segments, exes find ways (with the guidance of the celeb exes) to rid themselves and their environments of their past, often by changing either the appearance of their home or themselves (and sometimes both). Some also carry out elaborate, cathartic pretend revenge scenarios -- like throwing a car out of a plane, for example.
With its obviously mature themes, The Ex-Wives Club isn't for kids or really even most teens, though mature adolescents might gain some tools for dealing with anger and emotional pain. Parents should preview an episode to judge whether material seems appropriate for their child.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about divorce. Is it a good topic for a reality show? Why or why not? Do you think the people on the show cope with divorce in realistic and/or healthy ways? Has divorce touched your own family's life? If so, how has it affected you? Can divorce be a good thing? Teens: How do you feel about marriage and divorce? With half of marriages ending in divorce, do you have any faith that your own marriages will last?
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