What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality series -- in which aspiring child stars and their parents compete for cash and the chance to be represented by a talent agency -- includes lots of references to drug and alcohol abuse, rehab, and other problems that many current and former child stars (including host Danny Bonaduce) have dealt with. While the kids are judged on their talent, the parents are evaluated on their ability to be supportive and responsible, which they don't always excel at. Expect some strong language ("bitch," "crap," etc.), some cattiness between the parents, and some spoiled behavior from the kids. Because tween viewers may be drawn to watching other tweens make their way through Hollywood, parents may want to preview or watch with them.
What's the story?
I KNOW MY KID'S A STAR challenges stage moms and dads to become supportive, fit parents to their aspiring showbiz children. The series follows 10 Hollywood-hungry child/parent teams who move to Los Angeles and, upon arrival, attempt to outshine each other while competing for their big break. While the kids strut their stuff at a variety of auditions, their parents must demonstrate that they have the necessary business savvy and emotional maturity to help these young, talented hopefuls navigate the industry and avoid the pitfalls of Tinseltown. Each week the team who fails to prove that they can handle Hollywood is eliminated; the eventual winner gets $50,000 and a year's worth of representation by notable casting director Marki Costello.
Is it any good?
The show's entertainment value comes from watching the parents' clueless, out-of-control behavior as they try to help their kids take Hollywood by storm. Driven by dreams of fame and fortune, many of them put tremendous pressure on their kids to shine, often insulting the other teams in front of their kids in the process. Others are oblivious to how the industry works and are incapable of making smart business decisions on their kids' behalf. And while all the parents claim that it's their kids who want this success, it's obvious that many of them are living vicariously through their offspring. Meanwhile, the kids have to cope with the stress of learning lines and performing in front of casting directors. Adding to some kids' anxiety is the knowledge that their mom or dad has given up their own career and spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on them with the hope of getting a return on their "investment."
Hosted by former child star Danny Bonaduce, the series drives home the idea that in the cutthroat world of showbiz, kids' greatest advocate should be their parents. But the way it sends this message is decidedly mature. Like most reality shows, it has its share of strong language and endless bickering -- usually between the parents. Some of the kids are disrespectful and/or act spoiled, and only a few are disciplined for their inappropriate behavior. There's also some frank discussion about how easy it is for child stars to become addicts, criminals, and/or a death statistic. But because the overall message is honest and pro-child, and because tweens might be interested in watching kids their own age work their way through Hollywood, parents might want to consider previewing it or watching it with them -- especially if their child has showbiz aspirations.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about what it takes to become a successful child star. What gives a kid the "it" factor? What kind of pressures do these kids face to make it big? How do they deal with so much rejection? How should their parents help them through the process? Families can also discuss the pitfalls of fame and fortune. Why do you think so many child stars have problems with addiction and crime? Do you think the TV/film industry is at all responsible? Where are their parents in all of this? Parents: Check out our Media Survival Guide for tips on how to talk to your kids about some of these issues.