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Behind the Music
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 documentary series focuses on the ups and downs of musical careers, and the downs can involve everything from depression to heroin addiction. Sexually suggestive images and adult language are common, but racy content depends largely on the person or group being profiled. While often informative, the show dwells on scandal and difficulty.
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What's the story?
VH1's documentary series BEHIND THE MUSIC digs into pop music's closet to unearth the scandalous and the sublime. Each episode profiles a performer or group, charting their rise to fame and then dishing all the dirt -- from drug addiction to domestic abuse. Most episodes include interviews with the person or people being profiled, though some rely solely on interviews with friends and associates.
Is it any good?
The show profiles stars from every musical genre -- from country's Shania Twain (she grew up a poor orphan and raised her siblings alone) to hard rock's Ratt (drug abuse, groupies, and infighting ripped them apart) -- and there's something voyeuristically fun about the whole thing. A touch of moralism creeps in, too -- the message of the show sometimes seems to be that those who seek fame too vigorously or live life too hedonistically are sure to get their due.
How racy the show's material is depends on who's being profiled. The Ratt piece offers lots of scantily clad men and women, tons of drinking and discussion of drug use, and constantly bleeped language. But, as you can imagine, the Shania Twain episode is very different. Regardless of the subject, the show's goal is to present titillating material, so you're bound to run into something that some younger viewers may not be ready to see.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the phenomenon of celebrity and our culture's obsession with famous people. Why do we find the personal details of their lives so fascinating? Why are we so interested in their stories of adversity? Does anything you learn from the show change your feelings about the person or group being profiled? Does the downside of being famous outweigh the positive aspects?