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 Welcome to Myrtle Manor takes a stereotypical look into the world of a South Carolina trailer park. It contains lots of drinking, cigarette smoking, and wild behavior. Brawls sometimes break out, too. There's lots of sexual conversation, including references to prostitution, sexual acts, genitals, etc. People are shown in skimpy bikinis or partial dress, but nudity is blacked out. The language is pretty strong, too.
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What's the story?
WELCOME TO MYRTLE MANOR is a reality series that revolves around the lives of an eccentric group of people living in a family-run Myrtle Beach, South Carolina trailer park. The series stars Becky, Myrtle Manor's landlady who is committed to making the 120-unit park a 5-star residential resort. Life is never dull in this transient neighborhood thanks to residents like the bikini-clad Chelsey and Linsday, who spend their time making and selling hot dogs, the rather flamboyant Roy and his business partner Gina, who co-own the on-site beauty salon, and party promoter Taylor, who lives with his on again/off again girlfriend Jessica, and across the street from his quirky mom, Anne. Adding to the fray is the young and good-looking Jared, who moved into a trailer in exchange for handyman services, and Miss Peggy, a 30-year resident who likes to speak her mind. Security guard Marvin helps Becky gently keep everyone in line, but her father and no-nonsense park owner Cecil expects the the park to be run like a profitable business. It's not always easy, but Becky is committed to the park and most of the colorful people in it.
Is it any good?
The South Carolina-based series attempts to show how the colorful Myrtle Beach-area trailer park residents function as a family, regardless of how often the community's rules are handed down, ignored, and/or on occasion, enforced. But the real highlight of the voyeuristic series is watching the gang drink, socialize, argue, and engage in silly or potentially dangerous activities. The interactions between the park residents and outsiders gets a little crazy, too.
While it appears lighthearted and fun, Welcome to Myrtle Manor relies on common stereotypes about the South, as well as about people who live in trailer parks, to make it entertaining. Adding to this is the very public way that the show's producers staged the trailer park (the actual name of which is Patrick Manor) in order to create a series that specifically underscores stereotypes. Reality fans looking for a guilty pleasure may find it here, but the stereotypes make it not the best choice for families.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what goes into producing reality shows. Is there a difference between a reality show and a show that is unscripted? When a reality show is heavily orchestrated, at what point does it become a work of fiction? Is there a way to tell when a reality show really isn't real when you watch it?
What is the impact of using stereotypes to define and/or describe a community and/or culture? Is using stereotypes ever appropriate, even if it is used to be entertaining? Is there such thing as a positive stereotype?
Why does the media rely on generalizations when producing reality shows? If you were to produce a reality show, how could you go about doing it without doing the same thing?
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