A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this edgy spin on The Apprentice features rapper 50 Cent sharing his street smarts to teach real-world business lessons. Some of the conversations and challenges refer to street hustling, gang activity, and other thug-like behavior. Positive business principles like motivation and thinking strategically are rewarded, but things like threats of violence and the use of racial epithets often go unchecked. Strong language is constant (the saltiest words are bleeped) and competitors frequently argue. There's also some mild sexual innuendo, including brief conversations about pursuing inappropriate relationships with business superiors to get ahead. 50 Cent's music is prominently featured.
What's the story?
50 CENT: THE MONEY AND THE POWER is another reality series in which young people compete for their big break in the business world. Each week, rap artist/successful business mogul Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson -- with the help of his assistant Yayo -- shares a business tip intended to empower the entrepreneurial hopefuls. The contestants, divided into two teams, then embark on a challenge designed to teach the value of the specific lesson. Each team must successfully complete the assignment while trying to get along in their Brooklyn digs. At the end of the test, the competitor who fails to impress with her/his business mind, hunger to learn, and street smarts is eliminated. The ultimate winner gets $100,000 of 50 Cent's money to invest in her/his own business venture.
Is it any good?
The series combines urban culture with business savvy by taking the formula of the popular show The Apprentice and injecting it with a hard-edged, streetwise attitude. Like many reality series of this kind, there's plenty of yelling, screaming, and swearing (including racial epithets) in the name of greed. Even more problematic are some contestants' proud claims that they've engaged in unethical practices -- like entering inappropriate relationships with superiors -- to get ahead and their apparent willingness to do whatever it takes to win.
The show does offer plenty of lessons about making smart professional choices (like choosing your "crew" wisely), being a strong leader, and understanding the financial bottom line. But these messages are often overshadowed by 50 Cent's desire to show off his tough-talking, streetwise side -- rather than his thought-provoking, articulate business mentor persona. Also disturbing is the way he seems to enjoy wielding thug-like power over the contestants during what are supposed to be teachable moments. As a result, despite 50 Cent's claims that he's helping young people get ahead in the business world, he sometimes seems to pushing them backward. Teens may find some entertainment value in this sort of thing, but overall, it might be better to take your viewing business elsewhere.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about reality entrepreneur shows. Do shows like this one accurately portray what it's like to work in a high-powered business environment? Do the contestants who win these shows really go on to be successful in the business world? Families can also discuss the different ways that a successful show's format is recycled to produce others. Do you think some TV formats will always be successful? Why? Are there any formats that you think should stop being reinvented?
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