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 exploitative game show focuses more on scandal than winning, putting contestants in the hot seat by having them answer very personal, awkward questions while they're hooked up to a lie detector. The show sends a distorted message about the value of telling the truth, suggesting that honesty isn't always the best policy. Plus, it's clear that questions are intended to humiliate or otherwise upset the contestants, and some deal with mature themes like sexual orientation, stealing, and adultery.
What's the story?
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH is a game show that requires contestants to honestly answer 21 personally revealing questions in front of a national audience -- and, more significantly, in front of their closest friends and family. Every "honest" answer (as determined by a polygraph test before the competition) gets them one step closer to the $500,000 prize. Throughout the game, contestants squirm as they're presented with questions that have been purposely designed to make them uncomfortable and embarrassed ("Would you cheat on your spouse if you knew you could get away with it?" "Have you ever lied to get a job?"). If it gets to be too much, they can take smaller jackpots and run, but if they ever answer incorrectly, they're out of the game.
Is it any good?
The show takes on a scandalous, tabloid-like quality as contestants divulge dark secrets about everything from personal grooming habits to illicit online affairs. Exaggeratedly long pauses between responses make the theatrics feel even more over-the top while spouses, friends, and family members are shown anxiously wondering whether they can handle the truth about the person they thought they knew.
It's bad enough that the contestants are willing to exploit themselves and risk publicly hurting their loved ones on national television for prize money -- especially when they don't get the chance to explain their answers fully, which makes them seem more illicit than they probably are. But the worst part about this show is that it distorts the value of truth, making it seem like honesty isn't always the best policy. There's no point in watching this show unless you're interested in the trashy details it reveals, because in the end, there are really no winners here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how television can blur the line between entertainment and exploitation. Is sensationalism ever a good way to entertain audiences? Why do you think people are willing to go on national television and get put in humiliating situations? Does anyone really get hurt by it? Families can also discuss the importance of telling the truth. Is honesty always the best policy? Why or why not?