‘What Would You Do’ is one of those ‘if we happen upon it’ shows my family will watch occasionally on Friday. The show sets up actors playing roles on hidden cameras in public places. Some of the ones we have seen are different teens (boy/girl, black/white) attempting to take a bike chained to a pole, hateful speech lobbed at an overweight girl, a spouse (again, male & female) trying to instigate a tryst in a bar on their anniversary while the other spouse is in the restroom.
The goal is to see how normal bystanders will behave when confronted with an intentionally difficult and controversial situation. The results are intriguing – many folks will just sit by and choose not to get involved, whereas others cannot let the injustice stand. These situations get at our values, our morals, and what we will tolerate others doing before we get involved. Sometimes I get outraged watching the situations, other times I don’t find they tweak my sensitivities. Two key issues for me are treatment of others and involving children.
This past week the show had a feature that hit both areas – a waitress at a diner was abusing a pair of women in front of their children. It was an emotionally charged episode that I found compelling and impacted my whole family – there is one segment that is also shown on the video below that was very touching and we were all quiet, then my wife laughed as she was crying and looked at our teenage boys — and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room!
Here is the setup for what they called The Gay Parents Scenario:
An actress hired by “What Would You Do?” is waiting tables at a local family style diner, Norma’s Café in Farmers Branch, Texas. It’s a typical busy morning for her until our actors portraying the role of a gay couple — first females, then males — dining with their children are seated in her section. As she begins to express her discomfort and probe their parenting skills, other diners begin to take notice. Will these patrons take the side of our waitress or will they defend the unconventional family?
You can get more info on the show at ABC. For now, here is a great video showing most of the segment.