Celebrity Substitute

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Celebrity Substitute TV Poster Image
Star power elevates otherwise forgettable "learning" series.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The celebrity involvement in the show sends the message that being knowledgeable is cool. In some cases, they also challenge traditional gender stereotypes by showing women as instructors in the sciences and men in the social sciences, for instance. The series presents very basic concepts within each subject area, best meant as an overview or introduction to the ideas rather than an in-depth instructive course.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The celebrities present their material in creative and relatable ways, such as by eating a cookie and then using the experience to detail the workings of the digestive system.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

The stars get to plug their respective projects during the introduction portion of the show, so if viewers aren’t already familiar with them, they will know where to find their work. Each episode also ends with the featured celebrity encouraging viewers to subscribe to the Celebrity Substitute YouTube channel

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Celebrity Substitute is a YouTube original series in which celebrities teach brief virtual lessons in secondary education classes like U.S. government, psychology, and biology. Each of the stars works with an educator and interacts with one of the teacher’s students, who also appears onscreen. The content is mostly introductory to the respective subject matter, but it's a fun way to learn the basics of an unfamiliar concept. The celebrities’ involvement gives them opportunities to plug their primary work, and the episodes end with the stars encouraging viewers to subscribe to the show’s YouTube channel. On the upside, the series makes a point to challenge gender traditions by setting up some female stars to teach natural science subjects and male stars to delve into social sciences. 

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What's the story?

CELEBRITY SUBSTITUTE invites stars like Ken Jeong, Bill Nye, and Karlie Kloss to team up with teachers to instruct virtual classes in various subjects according to their areas of interest. The content is presented like a distance learning class. The teacher introduces the celebrity to an unsuspecting student, and the guest instructor and the teacher work together to present content in subjects like computer science, biology, United States history, and psychology.

Is it any good?

Virtual learning has evolved by leaps and bounds, and this unique series brings its own style to the niche market. As classroom instruction goes, it’s fun for those who watch, as the focus is more on entertaining the audience than anything else. Even so, the stars do present some solid content in creative ways with the help of the teachers alongside them onscreen.

Celebrity Substitute shouldn’t be mistaken for tutoring... or anything resembling it. These aren’t lengthy and thorough journeys of academia; they’re short and sweet and dabble only in the basic concepts of the topics they cover. What sells the show are the celebrities who are involved, as it’s always fun to see stars outside of their normal roles on the screen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Celebrity Substitute sets out to achieve. Is it an educational show, or does it trend more toward entertainment? What, if any, educational merit does it have? Did you learn something new by watching?

  • How does the celebrities’ involvement cater to a different pool of viewers than what a more traditional learning show would? Do the stars have anything personal or professional to gain by being part of the show? If so, what?

  • How have traditional gender stereotypes changed in workplaces over the past several decades? Are there still jobs that you think of as "men’s" or "women’s" work?

TV details

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For kids who love DIY learning

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