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 The Vineyard is a voyeuristic docuseries that puts the lives of 11 young adults under a microscope for entertainment. Strong personalities clash in tight quarters, and there's a lot of competition for the attention of the opposite sex, which sometimes breeds manipulation and deceit. Expect some salty language ("hell" is audible, but stronger words like "s--t" are bleeped), frequent drinking, and a lot of time spent "hooking up." As with most reality TV, some cast members are slightly better behavior models than others, but this isn't a constant, nor is it a distinction that's easy for most teens to make, given how the show romanticizes the subjects' lives.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
THE VINEYARD is set on idyllic Martha’s Vineyard and centers on the lives of 11 young adults spending the summer working, playing, and contemplating the respective turning points they're facing. There's Katie, who's working on the island for the summer to be around friends and to reassess her relationship with her longtime boyfriend. Lou is thrilled to reunite with his friend Katie, but will having her there complicate his efforts to find the girl of his dreams? Cat's working hard this summer in the hopes of saving enough money to leave the island, while Ben is returning to his home after an unexpected turn of events. Brought together by circumstance, these 11 young adults face personal challenges and are forced to reckon with new rivals and budding romances as the summer unfolds.
Is it any good?
The Vineyard takes a softer approach to reality-style voyeurism than does the likes of Jersey Shore, but it's clear from the get-go that it's not out to debunk any stereotypes either. Not surprisingly, every one of these Martha’s Vineyard-set cast members not only is gorgeous and, to some degree, privileged, but also knows how to work a camera, casting some doubt on the unscripted nature of show. Of course, the fact that the drama is so divisive so immediately also makes you wonder how much of the content has been manufactured.
None of what you'll see in this show should be a surprise, given that it revolves around the lifestyles and relationships of a group of red-blooded singletons in summer vacation mode. Casual flings, partying, ulterior motives, sabotage -- all have starring roles in this show's entertainment quality, and all are points of concern for impressionable teens. Ultimately The Vineyard adds its name to a long list of reality-style series that sensationalize human drama for sport and send questionable messages about positive body image by way of their homogeneous casts.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of series like this one. What entertainment value is there in watching other people's drama? Do you think this show really is unscripted? Why would the cast members agree to be part of a project like this?
Can you identify with the cast members' troubles? Do they deal with them in positive ways? Are any of them good behavioral role models? If so, why?
Teens: What, if any, harm can come from the media's gender, racial, or socioeconomic stereotypes? When we see these on TV, what assumptions do we make about other people? Is it reasonable to believe that we could eliminate stereotypes altogether?
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