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 matchmaking reality series spin-off mixes sexist messages about the rules that women should follow in the dating world with more positive messages about self-confidence and self-respect. Expect similar levels of catty behavior as in other reality shows, plus lots of strong language ("bitch, "crap," plus bleeped "f--k" and "s--t"), drinking, and sexual innuendo. The series also serves as a promotional vehicle for the featured matchmaker and his services.
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What's the story?
TOUGH LOVE: MIAMI, a spin-off of the original Tough Love matchmaking series, features matchmaker Steve Ward and his mom, Joann, as they lead a group of eight women through a 10-week "boot camp" designed to help them navigate the intense Miami dating scene. The participants are put through a variety of test dates and other challenges designed to help them understand how the male mind works and improve the way they carry themselves when looking for Mr. Right. During group meetings, Ward shares feedback from their dates and dispenses his blunt opinions in hopes of helping them find a long-lasting and healthy romantic relationship.
Is it any good?
Ward, who proclaims himself to be these women's "beacon of hope" when it comes to fixing their dating life, manages to offer some positive advice about a woman's need to have self-respect and a willingness to respect others in order to be more appealing. He also points out the difference between being self-confident and being arrogant and the danger of putting inappropriate content online.
Unfortunately, some of these lessons confuse being empowered in the dating world with adherence to sexist standards for the way that women should behave in society. Ward's shameless self-promotion makes his advice a little hard to take seriously, too. Some folks may find something helpful here, but ultimately it's a series that mostly offers lots of typical reality show drama.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about reality shows. What are some of the elements of a standard reality show? Why do they so often involve women sharing a house together? Have you seen any reality shows that do things differently?
Has the use of social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, and other digital resources changed the way that people meet and date? What are the consequences of engaging in online behavior like sexting when trying to find and/or build a meaningful relationship with someone?