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 colorful reality competition is built around the concept of using makeup -- and lots of it -- to achieve a desired look, mood, or feel, which could lead to requests from younger kids to start wearing a little blush, a dab of lipstick, or a swipe of mascara. The show also serves as a promotional vehicle for Max Factor cosmetics by mentioning the company by name in each episode and showcasing its products in various challenges. Adults occasionally celebrate with alcohol, but language is fairly mild.
What's the story?
Wielding brushes, blushes, and tweezers, makeup \ artists from across the country compete for a coveted title in BLUSH: THE \ SEARCH FOR THE NEXT GREAT MAKEUP ARTIST, an elimination-style reality contest \ that also awards the winner $100,000 in cash, a contract with Max Factor \ cosmetics, and an InStyle magazine photo shoot that features their work. Celebrity \ makeup artist Charlie Green serves as the contestants' mentor, with actress Vanessa \ Marcil stepping in as the show's host. The judging panel also includes InStyle \ fashion director Hal Rubenstein and professional makeup artist Joanna Schlip.
Is it any good?
Applying an all-too-familiar reality contest formula to yet another creative profession, Blush: The Search for the Next Great Makeup Artist attempts to do for makeup what Project Runway did for fashion. And, in some ways, it succeeds. The show highlights the technical and artistic skill of highly creative people who can literally transform a person's face with strategic strokes of color, highlight, and shadow. It also pushes the envelope with out-of-the-box challenges that go far beyond beauty (in one episode, for example, contestants are asked to create an avant garde look using edible and natural ingredients, like blackberries, ice cream sprinkles, and flower petals).
But the biggest strike against Blush is that, despite the show's unique focus on the cosmetics industry, we've pretty much seen this all before. Take your pick: From Stylista to Top Design to Top Chef, these shows rely on the same mix of quirky (and a few serious) characters who are craving their 15 minutes of fame. And they'll do anything -- including appearing before the judging panel in a camera-unfriendly masquerade mask -- to get it. Put X number of creative people in a poshly decorated house, pit them against each other in a series of outlandish challenges designed to test their skills, offer them an arbitrary title, and poof! -- you have InstaReality.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's overall message when it comes to using makeup to alter another person's appearance. Is applying makeup an art form (much like painting or sculpting)? Why or why not? Can somebody look beautiful without wearing any makeup? Will wearing makeup automatically make someone look prettier? When it comes to our favorite movie and TV stars, how much makeup do you think they wear when they're working? Do you think they wear the same amount while they're enjoying their days off? Do you think we'd look up to them as much if they had to go in front of the camera with bare faces?