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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 Total Bellas is a reality spinoff about the Bella twins (of wrestling and Total Divas fame). It'll appeal to teen wrestling fans, but contains a fair amount of sexual innuendo, intense family bickering, and drinking. On the positive side, it also offers themes about the importance of family and being healthy. Surgical procedures are sometimes shown, and the long-term effect wrestling has on the body is also highlighted. Logos for the WWE and fancy cars like Mercedes-Benz appear.
What's the story?
TOTAL BELLAS is a reality series starring Total Divas sisters Nicole “Nikki” and Brie Bella while they spend three months living with each other, their respective husbands, and their extended family. After Nicole and her husband, wrestler John Cena, undergo surgical procedures, they need a little extra help at home while they rehabilitate. Meanwhile, Brie's husband, WWE star Daniel Bryan, has retired from wrestling due to injuries. Given the circumstances, Brie and Daniel to move to Tampa, Florida to stay with them for three months to help out while jump starting a new phase in their marriage. Also joining them is Nicole and Brie's mom, Kathy Colace, who is engaged to former professional wrestler Johnny Laurinaitis, a.k.a. Johnny Ace. Their brother, J.J. Garcia, is also on hand to help out. It’s pretty crowded, and it certainly isn't easy. But they never forget that they're family.
Is it any good?
This reality series lets viewers look in on the personal lives of the Bellas, which is very much defined by their legacy inside the ring. What makes it interesting is how these women, along with their wrestler husbands, reveal personalities that are very different from their wrestling personas. There’s family conflict, but often Total Bellas’ more entertaining moments come from the family members’ quirkier sides, including John Cena’s desire to create a Downtown Abbey-esque family experience.
It's your usual lighthearted reality fare, but also points out some weighty issues associated with professional wrestling, including the physical harm done to wrestlers’ bodies throughout their careers. The long-lasting problems associated with sustained brain injuries is also quietly noted. This aside, WWE fans will certainly find Total Bellas a fun way of seeing some wrestling greats in a whole new light.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why entertainment wrestling is so popular. Even though the matches are scripted and the winners preplanned, why do people watch? What messages does Total Bellas send to viewers about the downside of the sport? Is this intentional? Or are the health issues they face simply part of the being in the profession?
Families can also talk about health. What do you do to keep in shape? Are organized sports your thing, or do you prefer to exercise in other ways?