Sun, Sex & Overly Suspicious Parents?

Beth Wright previews the BBC Three reality TV phenomenon.

culture holiday parents Sex sun suspicious tv

Yes, it’s back! Almost as bad as TOWIE; Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents (Wednesday nights, BBC Three) is the programme that claims to show teenagers behaving outrageously as they experience their first holiday away from home in the club capitals of Europe whilst being followed by a camera crew and their parents.

But, do they even really behave that outrageously? Is there that much that their parents should be suspicious of? Never do they appear to have sex, take drugs or behave dangerously. In fact, laughing gas is as far as it goes, with a young Jehovah’s Witness claiming, ‘it’s amazing because it’s legal’.

What we watch, therefore, is parents watching their children go on holiday, getting a little too drunk and kissing a few too many people. The major dilemma of those on the show is which club to go to first. Most of us have been to a club capital of Europe ourselves – Magaluf, Kos, Zante and for those with a lot of cash to spare; Ibiza.

The first holiday away from parents is an excuse to get right royally trashed and a little too sunburnt whilst being ripped off by the hotel rep within the first hour. Even the threat of starvation never pushes you to raid the emergency drinking fund, leaving you running out of money by day 4 having experienced nothing more of the city than a sun bed and the one street that houses the best nightclubs in town.

Yes, the first holiday after A-levels is an English rite of passage. The show promises so much, yet the groups it chooses as its protagonists are the most well behaved people out there. It is the holiday makers in the background that shock us into submission.

As much as I love it, the suspicious parents have little to be shocked at. Did they really believe that their children would go away to such a destination simply to drink a glass of wine a night and become a tourist eager to see the amazing architecture within the day? Surely getting a little too drunk, staying out a little bit late and acting a little more irresponsibly than they would at home isn’t that surprising?

If anything, the show lacks exactly what it protests to contain. It never really shocks us, succeeding only to provide light entertainment for us sleep deprived students; sleep deprived because we behave in exactly the same way as those on the show do every single night of the week here in Exeter.

Its main success is only being able to bring back fond memories of our own, quietly behaved, sexual encounter-free experiences abroad; or at least that’s what we told our parents.