What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this series is billed as a comedy, young men and women fire "yo momma" jokes at one another with the sole intent of causing embarrassment and degradation. Each joke follows a format: "Your mother is so 'something' that 'something bad or embarrassing' happened as a result." The trash-talking jokes are clearly not taken seriously, but are they only funny when poked at other people?
What's the story?
Yo momma's so fat, when she steps on a scale, it says, 'To be continued' -- that's about as harmless a YO MOMMA joke as one will find on MTV's comedy competition series. Hosted by That '70s Show's Wilmer Valderrama, the program features young men and women representing their home turf by battling it out through quick exchanges of in-your-face trash-talking jokes, which are judged on originality, quickness, delivery, and sting. Each half-hour episode includes three rounds: the first is a free-form Yo Momma competition on the streets of the two rival neighborhoods; in the next, two finalists are picked from each location and Valderrama escorts each finalist to the home of his or her opponent; and round three begins back on the streets, with a live, rowdy audience from the two neighborhoods. A winner is given a cash prize, and each week the daily winners put their money on the line and trash talk/joke their way to the final championship.
Is it any good?
With Wilmer officiating, Yo Momma moves quickly, often with dramatic and raucous laughter. Still, the jokes are all about making fun of the intelligence, physical appearance, or sexuality of a person's mother -- or of that person specifically. In the third round, for example, finalists visit each other's homes, giving each a chance to pick up "ammunition" so that the final round can be as embarrassing and personal as possible. Nothing is spared -- they look at the opponent's photos, what they eat, who they live with, what they wear, how dirty the bathroom is, etc.
Given that most of the competitors are of color, there's also a cultural component to Yo Momma that kids in this demographic will get, while most parents probably won't (although the show does include some mothers who back up their competing kids and throw in Yo Momma jokes of their own). Are these the kind of jokes you want your kid to repeat to his/her friends ... about you?
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the challenges of performing -- specifically, being funny -- in front of others. What body language and expressions make jokes funny? How can jokes be successful without relying on humiliating another person?