Reality Check: Family Values on 'Big Brother' and 'Kid Nation'

It was down to the wire this week on "Big Brother 8," with father-daughter duo Dick and Danielle pulling the puppet strings to evict their former alliance partners Jessica and Eric.

Obviously, it wouldn't be "Big Brother" without vicious backstabbing, lying and tears — and the participants more than provided their share of each.

Eric, who as America's player had to do whatever viewers decided he should — whether it meant trying to get a certain person evicted or having to imitate someone random from the house — took his role on the show as seriously as one could.

When he earnestly said during Tuesday night's show, "I'm doing what I need to do to support America" while wearing an army green "Never Forget" T-shirt, it was difficult to remember that he wasn't discussing the Cuban missile crisis, the war in Iraq or global warming but whom he should pretend to rally against on a reality show.

Despite his eviction, Eric was rewarded handsomely for his efforts — not only did he meet a girl he seems crazy about to the point of obsessive mania, he also nabbed $40,000 for successfully completing five of "America's Player" tasks.

Dick and Danielle, meanwhile, appear not only to be on the road to becoming the final two, but also likely to arrive there with their collective souls not remotely intact.

It's sweet that a father and daughter are teamed up on the show, but their relationship is about as sugary as Melba toast.

Exhibit A: When Dick (who resembles Tommy Lee) jokingly said that waitresses are on par with strippers, he seemed to temporarily forget that his daughter is essentially a career waitress.

But no! He was just trying to be funny, he explained, seeming genuinely flummoxed by the fact that she was offended.

Analyzing the dynamic, the only theories I could come up with for this exchange was that he thinks being compared to a stripper is a compliment or that he simply has horrific parenting skills (potentially both).

And what discussion of questionable parenting and reality shows would be complete without a mention of CBS' latest controversy-laden creation, "Kid Nation"?

In case you've been trapped in the "Big Brother" house, "Kid Nation" is the show premiering Sept. 19 that took a bunch of kids between the ages of 8 and 15, threw them into a town without adults and let them create their own society.

If that's not unsettling enough, several of the children allegedly were hurt during this season's production and their parents were apparently briefed ahead of time on the fact that major risks were going to be involved.

It's enough to make the disturbing parenting we were exposed to on various episodes of "Wife Swap," "Nanny 911" and "Supernanny" seem comparatively fabulous.

And to make the Tommy Lee-look-alike father seem eligible for a nomination for Father of the Year.

Anna David is a freelance writer. Her novel, "Party Girl," is in stores now.