I'd like to thank Michelle Hatmaker and Lyn Distel for taking the time to respond to my article. At Elitestv we like, when possible, to show both sides of an opinion or story.
My first response was from Michelle Hatmaker:
Markham just forwarded to me your recent article about the first (rerun) episode of Under One Roof. Although I'm disappointed in your "take" on a few things, I can certainly understand your concerns (i.e., bribery, nagging, emotional welfare of the kids, etc.). I can't speak for the other families on the show...only my own...but I can assure you (and other viewers) that the experience of being on UOR was a wonderful gift from UPN/Endemol. From what I saw, each and every child on that show grew in many ways...emotionally, physically, mentally. They accomplished feats they never imagined possible. They discovered how important family really is...how important communication really is...how important it is to trust their parents, and for their parents to trust them. Hopefully as the show continues these principles will become evident.
For us, Fiji was a beautiful escape from a year of extreme sadness, grief, and stress. It was a time of healing after Roy's and my mother's deaths. We didn't go on the trip for the sole purpose of winning a house. We went for fun, adventure, and to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The house was an added bonus. That's not to say we weren't fiercely competitive. Winning the house was important...just not the most important part of being there.
Did each family have their own set of issues? Yeah...just like your family...just like your neighbor's family...just like their neighbor's family...just like The Royal Family. That's one of the great things about "Under One Roof." At some point, viewers can (and will) relate to somebody, in some way. Whether it's the parent that "bribes" their kids to eat their spinach (make good grades, win at an athletic event...), or the mom that "nags" their kid for acting up in public (or worse, doesn't correct them), or the teenager with the snotty attitude..we've all been there. And there's always someone to criticize what wasn't done, should've been done, or didn't need to be done.
That's life...and in this case...that's television. Keep watching!
Michelle C. Hatmaker President Hatmaker Enterprises, Inc.
The second response was from Lyn Distel:
Hi, I'm the mom from the Distel family on Under One Roof. I just wanted to let you know that my kids (Melissa and David) did not suffer any irreversible psychological damage as a result of participating in the show. Although we were the first to leave the island, we did spend over two weeks with the other families (even though it looks like three days on TV).
In the amount of time that we were there, I didn't see any evidence that the other teens were being damaged in any way either. Sure Bianca cried about the spiders....she would've cried at home if she'd seen a spider walk across her bedroom floor. Sure the kids saw immoral behavior at times, but as parents, it is our job to use those situations to teach our kids some valuable lessons. They see bad stuff everyday and are subjected to people who are mean and nasty and evil right in their own backyards...the only difference was, it was all televised.
Every family going into the show had to realize there were going to be a lot of unknowns to deal with. The rules stated that anyone could quit whenever they wanted as well. Nobody was forced to stay and endure the horrors of bad behavior by grown men. My kids had the choice whether to go or not. In the end they opted to go. The whole Kitten/Bribe thing was blown out of proportion, but gee the producers found a great angle with that one and they used it, as I would expect them to.
I know it's easy for me to say this now, but my main reason for wanting to go was not to win a house that I would never be able to visit. It was to spend some time with my kids doing some things that we don't or can't do here and to share an experience with them that they would never ever forget! There were good and bad things about the show as there is with any reality T.V. show, but unless you were there, you really have no idea what the Reality was.