February 13, 2009 10:04 PM by Lisa Stauber
Supernanny is all new tonight on ABC, and Jo is brought to tears by the angry outbursts of the family’s father, Phil Davis. Debbra Davis, the mother, is expected to shoulder all of the “women’s work” after working all day at her full time job, and the only time Phil gets involved with household duties is to bully the children.
The Davis family has four children. Morgan is the oldest, at 15, and is the stepdaughter. “The first thing a wife should do, is have the house clean before she leaves,” Phil says. He leaves for work before 6 am, and Morgan helps get the kids ready for the day. Morgan is late every day this semester, and it’s threatening her 4.0. Phil gets angry and calls his all of his girls “bitches”. He spanks the children and chases them with a belt. “Our family has gotten so bad, that our parents have separated quite a few times,” Morgan says.
“I was so incredibly happy to see Jo,” Debbra says. Right away, a squabble breaks out over snack time. Phil observes and criticizes while Debbra handles the food and children. “He has no responsibilities,” Debbra complains. “He has no idea about the importance of couples coming together,” Jo says. The little ones are crying, Morgan is yelling, and Phil is arguing. Mom takes a breather outside and tells Jo that Phil needs to step up or she’ll have to leave.
Debbra leaves to get some lunch, and Morgan picks a fight with Phil over the way he talks to girls. “You can walk your ass upstairs, you little bitch!” he yells at her, and Morgan runs off crying. “You’re just like your mom.” Supernanny thinks Phil has no respect, and goes upstairs to talk to Morgan. Later, Phil admits to using the belt on all of the children, even the baby.
The little girls start to wrestle and play with each other, and Phil slaps them in the mouth. The family goes out for a walk, and Phil starts griping about a necklace that Morgan is wearing. He starts yelling about it in the middle of the street and tells Morgan she looks like a slut, even though she’s wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and flip flops. “I should just let you act like a little ho,” he tells her. Morgan starts crying again, and she’s still standing in the middle of the street. Debbra doesn’t step in to stop it.
Supernanny begins the meeting lecturing Phil on his chauvinism, then moves on to the way he treats Morgan. He claims he didn’t call her a slut. “You fly off the handle,” Jo says. “You don’t know what you say.” She thinks the spanking is breaking their spirit. “They live in a dysfunctional environment,” Supernanny says. “You are a bully.” She takes Debbra to task for standing by and letting it happen. She lays down the law, and expects hard work. “If you cannot give it to me, then this doesn’t go down,” Jo says.
Jo has set up pictures of the children outside, and brings Phil outside to talk to him about his abusive behavior. “Every time you verbally abuse your young girls, it’s like throwing a poisonous dart right in their face,” Jo tells him, and then makes him throw darts at the pictures. “It was really hard,” he says. He seems to finally realize how damaging his words are.
Supernanny takes Debbra and Phil to the gym to show Phil why he’s not trusted. She blindfolds Debbra and makes her fall backwards, but Debbra has trouble trusting him to catch her. He’s always broken his promises before. Supernanny tricks him into thinking he will be caught by Debbra, but really he falls into a foam pit. He finally realizes how it feels when trust is broken.
A New Dad
Jo teaches Phil a new way to discipline, and warns him that the first few times could take quite a while. Soon enough, one of the little girls needs a time out. Phil waits it out, and finds out that time out actually works.
Jo teaches the Davis family how to have a smooth morning. She gives them shelves to put their clothes on the night before. A morning routine is set, but Jo shows up bright and early to make sure everyone works together. At 5:30 AM, Jo comes in to see how it’s going. “I hated being ambushed by Jo,” Debbra says. Jo shows her how to handle the little ones needing her attention while she gets ready, and Morgan is ready on time. Morgan only has to worry about herself today, since the little girls are ready. The family actually runs early!
Supernanny tries to heal her relationship with Phil. Morgan gets to talk to Phil, but Phil can’t talk back. “I’m angry,” she tells him. “You never listen to me or anything.” Phil listens, then hugs her when she’s done. “You left out the name calling,” he tells her. “That’s going to stop.”
“I’m petrified of the DVD meeting,” Debbra says. Phil’s optimistic. He played beauty shop with his girls, and let them fix his hair. He jokes around with Morgan, and Supernanny tells them that they need to set boundaries with Morgan’s new boyfriend. The little girls make a mess, and Phil slaps her in the face. He hits the toddler again, knocking her down. “That was horrible,” Phil says.
“Phil, you are a man who has abusive behavior,” Jo says. “Your children are not safe. You’re going to need counseling.” Phil agrees with Jo about the abusive tendencies, but Jo tells him it could take a long time to go through the process of counseling. She goes with him to meet with an abuse program coordinator, and he talks to a man who has completed the course. She also has him talk to a girl who was abused by her father.
Supernanny plans to keep in touch with the family and will get reports from the abuse program coordinator, to make sure everything stays on track.
Photos courtesy ABC.