‘My Mom, Your Dad’ and My Entertainment

HBO Max’s new show puts a spin on the traditional expectations of reality dating television



Yvonne Orji from HBO Max’s “Insecure” is taking on a different role for the streaming platform, hosting “My Mom, Your Dad.”


To be honest, I am not a reality TV show person. I genuinely believed I could go my entire life without ever feeling the need to watch a dating show, especially when “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” sounds much more appealing. 

But after gradually falling into the void of media propaganda, I decided to kick my feet up and watch the show “My Mom, Your Dad” — and let me tell you, it exceeded my expectations.

When we think of dating shows such as “Too Hot to Handle,” we think of watching sexually charged individuals who fit various beauty standards amusingly interact with one another. Instead, HBO Max decided to take an unanticipated approach to the concept of dating shows by having college-aged students nominate their single parents to embark on the quest for love. 

The Observer had the opportunity to attend a college newspaper roundtable discussion on Feb. 10 hosted by HBO Max with eight of the cast members.

Unbeknownst to the parents, their kids are living down the street in their own retreat house and have the power to discreetly influence the dating life of their parents.

A Spin on Reality Dating

Yvonne Orji, the esteemed actress who starred in “Insecure,” welcomes the single parents to a beautifully staged retreat, where the apparent purpose of the show is for contestants to flirt and find their soulmate. 

Unbeknownst to the parents, their kids are living down the street in their own retreat house and have the power to discreetly influence the dating life of their parents. This is called “Meddle Time.” Each child has complete insight into the intimacies of their parent’s interactions via secret monitors. 

As much as these kids love their parents, none of them were prepared to watch them engage in flirting. During the roundtable discussion, Alexandra Devoe, one of the daughters in the show, described the strong bond she had with her father but that watching him flirt was “cringe and weird and not normal.” 

She was a bit disgusted after the first night watching her father flirt with women, yet the show propelled Alexandra to understand her father on a deeper level. 

Each of these children acted as dating counselors on the show with the chance to take advantage of a “Meddle Time” opportunity to get their way. Each “Meddle Time” consisted of the kids choosing between a consequence and the opportunity to directly impact their parents’ dating lives. 

One of the consequences was that Myles “M.J.” Johnson, the son of DeNeia Hendrix-Johnson, had to get rid of five pairs of his shoes. M.J. joked that the other students had “peer-pressured” him to get rid of his shoes and gave them the silent treatment for a little while. While M.J. did get his shoes back, he jokingly reminded everyone about the pain and turmoil he had to endure.

While the meddles seemed to be an innocent way for the kids to mildly influence the lives of their parents, as the show progressed, it was evident that even the smallest meddles profoundly affected the emotions and lives of their parents. Each child wanted to prioritize their parent and who they thought their parent should end up with. Watching the intricacies of children playing a direct role in their parents’ futures was quite heartwarming. 

“I’ve never in my life became family with so many people so fast.” Whitney Strunk

Cast Members Weigh In

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the show was viewing the dynamics between the kids. Each of them shares the characteristic of being a child of a single parent while facing the adversaries that it entails. From the first night, it was apparent that the kids began to bond with one another remarkably quickly. 

One of the kids, Whitney Strunk, said during the roundtable, “We were all strangers, and we just walked in … It was family within a night … I’ve never in my life became family with so many people so fast.” 

The kids explained during the roundtable discussion that even though the season is finished, many of them are still in contact with one another. They developed relationships that can weather contrasting environments and livelihoods. 

Many friendships are fostered through a culture of similar environments, but the friendships that remained after the show are a testament to the bonds they were able to cultivate throughout their time on the show.

Honestly, if every dating show was like this, I would change my perspective on watching them. But if you are looking for a new show that involves comedy, sentimental emotions and, of course, drama, I would highly recommend “My Mom, Your Dad.” It embodies the narrative that love is not attached to facets of age and that the bond between a parent and child can withstand numerous hurdles.