January 09, 2008 03:51 PM by Lisa Stauber
Supernanny Jo Frost returns with two full hours of out-of-control toddler fun. The new season serves up two firsts – Supernanny goes camping in the first hour, and then, in a surprising twist, the kids call her in to help their parents in the second installment. The double episode also features two sets of twin boys, one for each hour.
First up are the Drakes. Donna and Billy Joe parent three young children, 5 year old Josie and 3 year old twins Justin and Jared. The kids are wild, despite Mom and Dad dictating and controlling every detail of their lives. Donna even scrubs the tots’ teeth, never letting them touch the toothbrush. Poor Josie is not allowed to play with her dolls, because they might get messed up. Everywhere they go, Mom barks orders at them.
Grandma Mimi lives next door, and watches the kids while Donna and Billy Joe go to work. She gets quite a workout with the boys, struggling to control them and even wrestling both twins to the floor at the same time. Granny Clampett would be proud, but this is no sitcom. Can Supernanny help?
Of course she can, and she swoops in with her sensible advice and a naughty bean-bag. Little Justin resists – but twelve tries later makes through his time out and apologizes. Mimi tears up when she sees her grandson finally controlling himself.
“If someone had said it would be this tough, we would not have done this,” Donna confides in her interview. The results speak for themselves, however, and the parents quickly get with the program. After successfully allowing the kids to brush their own teeth, the family is ready to go. Time for vacation!
Jo follows the Drakes’ camper in her Nannymobile, and encourages the uptight parents to set boundaries, and then step back. The kids thrive on the newfound freedom, and everyone is having a great time. There’s a little problem with sharing, but Supernanny has a game for that – and brings Mimi over for a surprise vacation treat.
Jo leaves the Drakes happily riding bikes together and actually relaxing for once. Another family crisis solved!
The next stop is the Chapman family. Sara and Glen are parents to teens Brittany, 17 and Moriah, 14; as well as twins Ethan and Cole, 4 and Quinn, 3. The younger boys aren’t so much out of control as unparented. Britt and Moriah are the ones who begged Jo to come, as Mom and Dad leave them to clean the house, tend the children, and attend high school from home via the Internet – all at the same time.
Glen is hard on the kids, just as his own parents were. Jo probes and finds out that he is estranged from his family, but Glen hasn’t made the connection that his dysfunctional, controlling parenting style is pushing his own girls away.
Sara comes home from work with fast food for dinner – the girls will have to clean it up, though – and gives up as soon as the two year old starts crying. “I’m ready to throw in the towel,” she says. Brittany eventually takes care of things and gets the boys to bed.
A pall hangs over the house, and Supernanny is quick to identify it. The girls have been worn out and broken down. They are failing school. The boys cry uncontrollably. Britt looks like she could fall over from exhaustion any second (and she does, later).
Supernanny hits the nail on the head when she has a serious talk with Mom and Dad. “You are breaking spirits here. You’re snapping backbones, mate,” she tells Glen during the Observation Roundtable. Glen agrees things have got to change, and it’s decided that the parents will start working around the house. A new schedule is put in place, with Sara agreeing return to her duties as mother so the girls can study and Glen taking on breakfast.
Things start out well, but quickly degenerate. Britt asks to be allowed to take a walk, and Mom instantly responds, “Are your chores done?” An argument ensues over the cleanliness of the floor. Later, the girls confide that they have no hope of things actually changing. They are convinced that Mom and Dad won’t change, that they are just acting for the camera.
Glen is trying, though, and takes his daughter out for a driving lesson. He’s kind, not controlling, and helpful. His praise seems genuine. The boys finally get a bedtime routine, and Sara takes on her role as mother more fully.
Things finally start to look up as Jo takes her leave. The girls have a special room and time in the schedule for their schoolwork, and Glen has decided to hire a babysitter for the boys. Brittany is smiling again and Moriah will actually get to see her friends. Supernanny saves the day, again!
Jo Frost never fails to throw the parents who are in over their heads a lifeline, and the fourth season promises to be filled with new families facing real challenges. Tune in to watch her temper the tantrums and teach Mom and Dad a thing or two.
Photo Copyright 2007 ABC, Inc. /Bob D’Amico