Many would argue that the last thing to expect from reality TV is a dose of social reality, but this show seems more authentic than most – perhaps because the main characters are children so young that they do not know enough to hide it when they want to act like spoiled brats.
The dads, all of whom are Chinese celebrities and some of whom are television actors in "real" life, are inevitably less candid than their kids. After one little girl whines for nearly an entire show, her Olympic gold medallist father alludes to how he might be tempted to just whack her if they were in the privacy of their own home – but, with the whole country watching, he thinks the wiser course is a quick cuddle.
Like much on Chinese television, this is a copy of a foreign show – a South Korean series about celebrity dads and their offspring. But in China, besides merely testing whether famous dads can boil water and tie shoelaces (they can't), it also has a deeper resonance.
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The country is now raising its second generation of "little emperors" – only children, often born to parents who are themselves only children – and everybody wants to know if they are going to end up even more spoiled, immature and selfish than their overindulged parents.
A recent survey by China Youth Daily found most viewers watch the show for what they can learn about balancing the pressures of work and child-rearing – and only a quarter for a peek at celebrity family life.
Last month the show even became the subject of an academic seminar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, which urged parents of "little emperors" to give them more independence – and get Dad more involved in child-rearing.