Jo Frost, Supernanny
Have you ever stood in the Naughty Corner? We don't think you'd like it much, considering it took Jennifer Bowersock — the frustrated mom on the Season 3 premiere of ABC's tantrum-taming Supernanny
(airing tonight at 9 pm/ET) — hours
to keep her stubborn daughter there for more than a second. After getting a sneak peek of the episode — which will certainly amaze viewers with its harsh punishments and emotional turnarounds — TVGuide.com asked Supernanny Jo Frost
why she puts up with all the screaming and what she hopes parents will take away from the new season.
TVGuide.com: How do you like being in New York this time of year?
Jo Frost: It's rather like London, rainy and dark. But New York's great.
TVGuide.com: Lots of children taking in the holiday-season sights, right?
Frost: I'm sure I'm about to see that. I've just come from studio to studio.
TVGuide.com: Well, I've watched so many episodes of Supernanny, and honestly, the kids always seem to run the show before you intervene! In the third-season premiere, the mother puts soap in her kids' mouths! I always thought that was a threat parents never actually went through with.
Frost: You get what you see. On the premiere, it was fantastic to be able to go in and really work with the Bowersock family, to be able to bring them to a point where they could see the harm that they were doing. [Mom] Jennifer didn't want to be behaving that way anymore, and it was just marvelous. Funny enough, I've just watched the premiere for the first time, and it made me cry! I thought, "Oh, I've got to remember [them]."
TVGuide.com: I'm sure there are so many moms out there just like her, spanking their children — in the beginning, she didn't seem to feel bad about it — so I'm sure it will give a lot of people out there a new perspective.
Frost: The importance is recognizing that she had done something that she was brought up with as a child, where she hadn't been given much affection or confidence from her mother. The auto-parenting kicked in without her really looking at why her family was behaving the way they were, and that needed to be addressed. The ways that she felt were positive disciplining were not. They were damaging and not building any relationship between her and her children, so it's important to reconnect them all, write down some rules and put in place effective consequences. That's really what it's about — finding that balance. But in this case with the premiere, it's one I feel passionate about, because it's teaching families across America a no-no — parents need to be more composed. When they are at their wit's end, they need to recognize that smackin' their children and venting their own anger is causing more harm.
TVGuide.com: Is it hard for you to confront the parents?
Frost: It's not hard, but I'm never complacent, either, because you don't know what kind of response you're going to get. I'm not there to tippy-toe around the situation; I'm there to help them recognize what they need to do to change and to be happier as a family. For me, being able to always tell the truth and speak with integrity is important. They know why I'm there in the first place.
TVGuide.com: What does make you want to help all these families?
TVGuide.com: Even if it's just one family at a time, it really does make a difference because so many are seeing you do it.
Frost: Exactly. [It's] wonderful being able to use media in such a positive way, to be able to show one family and make a difference in millions who watch. Everybody does it to a degree — whether you're helping somebody at work and they're learning from the experience, or whether you're helping somebody with a family.
TVGuide.com: It really stretches beyond the boundaries of just families at home.
Frost: Yeah. I have a website called b4ugo-ga-ga.com, and I have a chat room there that is worldwide. Parents put their flag up from where they're from, and they can speak to somebody [on] the other side of the world — and they can recognize that their issues are relatable and can help one another. I get messages [like], "Jo, you're an angel," and I go, "We're all angels, here to help one another!"
TVGuide.com: Do you have kids?
Frost: Not yet.
TVGuide.com: Do you want to have your own?
Frost: [Laughs] Well, between all the families I'm filming right now, it's really not on my mind at the moment. But who knows!
TVGuide.com: How's this season going?
Frost: I'm three-quarters of the way finished, and it is absolutely fantastic. I'm really excited about this season, because there are so many wonderful families I have the opportunity to work with.
TVGuide.com: Will we see anything new, or a different situation? Anything shocking?
Frost: You're going to see shocking on [Dec.] 4th! It's out there, it's the truth, it's exposed. I've been asked a lot [about the premiere] — "So, this is an extreme-case family for Supernanny?" — and I say, "No, it's not extreme, actually. This is a lot of families in America." And that's the premise of this season. I want people to see exactly what's going on, to take in the information and say, "Oh, my word, that's us, and we need to do something to change that. I want to do something to change that."
TVGuide.com: I love the addition of Supernanny's Tips! Was that your idea?
Frost: Yeah, I thought it would be quite fun, to add in the little tips here and there.
TVGuide.com: How do you come up with all the games and tactics that bring the families closer, like the hugging game with the Bowersocks?
Frost: I remember playing that as a child myself, and I thought, "This would be a great game," because it involves being able to touch. [It's] like tag, but in this case, they needed to be able to connect on a more intimate level, so I basically twisted it a little. For all of the families — once I've recognized what issues that need to be dealt with — I really think about what I'm going to do creatively.
TVGuide.com: Sometimes I've seen you get emotional on the show. What's the hardest part of Supernanny for you?
Frost: The first thing that comes to my mind is the traveling! [Laughs] It's a really relentless schedule, and the traveling takes its toll, going from one family to the next. But actually working with the families is great.
TVGuide.com: What do you hope people take away from this new season?
Frost: As much as they possibly can. Parents are going to take [from it] what they want, so I hope they take big. I hope they recognize that they can put it all in place and make decisions themselves to confidently change their situation for the better.
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Reality-TV fans, find an exclusive look at the five big changes in store for The Apprentice in the Dec. 4 issue of TV Guide.
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