Genre: Reality TV
TV Rating: TV-14
Other Choices: So You Think You Can Dance, Dirty Jobs, Flying Wild Alaska
Available On: Online
Common Sense Says: Mother-daughter pairs drink and brawl in crass reality show.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mama Drama is a reality show made by the creative team behind Jersey Shore that offers some of the same reprehensible behavior and lessons. The five featured mother-daughter pairs are loud, boorish, frequently drunk, and generally on the make. Women in their 40s or 50s, as well as their twentysomething daughters, wear extremely revealing outfits and seemingly do nothing but shop for sexy clothes and otherwise get ready for long nights of drinking, brawling, and hitting on good-looking men at parties and clubs. The women gossip viciously behind one another's backs and are apt to exchange harsh words that sometimes turn into physical confrontations. No consequences are shown for these behaviors, save for plenty of talk about hangovers. There's a lot of (blurred) nudity and (bleeped) cursing, as well as crass and ugly behavior from both mothers and daughters.
- Families can talk about the show's messages. What is VH1 trying to show us about family bonds or the nature of mothers and daughters?
- Are the moms on this show typical of mothers this age? Why would this type of behavior be interesting to watch?
- Are the women on Mama Drama being presented as cautionary examples or normal, average people? If the former, why would viewers want to watch other people behaving in embarrassing or shameful ways? What do viewers get out of it?
What's the story?
Created by the team that brought us Jersey Shore, MAMA DRAMA is an hour-long reality show that centers on five mother/daughter pairs who are given an elaborate apartment in which they all briefly live together. The show's gimmick is that all the moms are arrested development cases, happy to dress up and party with their twentysomething daughters. At least one pair is so enmeshed that mother and daughter dress alike, in the manner of identical twins. The duos drink and brawl their way through parties and clubs, fighting with each other at the apartment over such issues as nighttime quiet hours, as well as duking it out with strangers who look at the cast members cross-eyed. The show's producers claim to be casting a light on the way that moms can sometimes over-identify with their kids, preferring to be BFFs instead of authority figures. Maybe so, but the cameras seem a lot more interested in capturing the women gossiping about each other, trying on teeny bikinis, or throwing drinks in one another's faces.
Is it any good?
If you've seen Jersey Shore, Mama Drama will seem familiar. Getting wasted and hooking up is the order of the day, though all the drunken antics seem a lot ickier when women in their 40s or 50s -- who would presumably have gained a little more sophistication over the years than the twentysomethings on Jersey Shore -- take pleasure in trying to pull out another "bitch's" weave or bump and grind on shirtless strangers. Though viewers the age of the daughters on the show may find the age-inappropriate actions hilarious, parents will likely be horrified.Though the moms and daughters generally profess to be "down" for each other, loyal and supportive, they're definitely not kind to other women, who are viewed as wingmen as best, competition at worst. The cast members pick at each other and any other women on screen, particularly when drunk (and they're drunk in every episode). Looking good (i.e. dressed in revealing clothing with heavy make-up and elaborate hairstyles) and getting attention from men seems to be the main goal of both the Mama Drama mothers and the daughters. This is truly vulgar reality.
The Good Stuff
Messages: There are negative messages aplenty to be found here, including lots of issues related to drinking and casual sex, which the women on the show seem to take extremely lightly. Viewers will also learn that the main value of women, at least the ones on this show, is to be decorative and to get a man, preferably before some other "hooker" or "bitch" snags him.
Role Models: About the best that can be said for the mom-daughter pairs on Mama Drama is that they're generally loyal and supportive of each other, even though they encourage each other to get wasted, gossip viciously about the other moms and daughters, and generally comport themselves disgracefully.
What to watch out for
Violence The Mama Drama cast is constantly arguing and name-calling, and this sometimes escalates to physical confrontations: slapping, hair-pulling, hurling drinks into each other's face. Members of the cast proudly affirm that they won't put up with "s--t talking" and will fight with other women who do. There's a general attitude that solving problems with violence is acceptable, even positive.
Sex: Mama Drama cast members constantly talk about sex and finding men to have sex with, preferably handsome strangers for one-night stands. The women compete for male attention and are often shown in very revealing outfits, such as bathing suits that wouldn't look out of place at a strip club. Many scenes are set in situations where cast members will be half- or entirely naked, i.e. swimming pools, hot tubs. Nudity is blurred, but there are a lot of scenes in which cast members flash their breasts and genitals at strangers or each other.
Language: Lots of rough language, such as the women referring to each other as "bitches," "whores," or "hookers." Four-letter words such as "f--k" and "s--t" are bleeped, and some cast members' speech is so thick with cursing that they can barely be understood underneath all the bleeping.
Consumerism: The mothers and daughters visit various bars and hotels, the logos of which are flashed on the screen while scenes of partygoers having a good time at the locales are prominently featured.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Many characters smoke, and seemingly all of them drink, constantly and to excess. Mama Drama cast members drink to get drunk and behave shamefully when inebriated -- falling over, throwing up, getting into arguments and physical confrontations. And all of these drunken antics are portrayed as just good fun.