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 reality series -- which follows seven former teen idols who are attempting to reinvent themselves and their careers -- includes some sexual innuendo (like references to "rocking the trailer"), drinking, and strong language (words like "bitch and "damn" are audible; harsher choices are bleeped). Some of the former stars discuss their previous wild lifestyles and past mistakes -- including abusing and selling drugs -- but these conversations are presented within the context of them recognizing the errors of their ways. Therapy sessions sometimes lead to some heated arguments, yelling, and name-calling.
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What's the story?
CONFESSIONS OF A TEEN IDOL brings several former teen idols of the '80s and '90s together under one roof and attempts to help them reinvent themselves in order to find fame a second time. With the mentorship of show host/reinvented star Scott Baio, former actor/current producer Jason Hervey (The Wonder Years), celebrity therapist Cooper Lawrence, and a handful of Hollywood insiders, the men -- from Blue Lagoon star Christopher Atkins to Grease 2 headliner Adrian Zmed -- must develop a thick skin, recognize their past professional and/or personal mistakes, face their fears, and demonstrate the drive and the passion necessary to succeed in the fickle entertainment industry. At the end of the series, each former teen idol is offered an opportunity designed to boost their career and help them reclaim their spot in the limelight.
Is it any good?
The show offers some interesting insight into how former actors, singers, and Hollywood personalities cope with fame -- and its loss, once their star begins to fade. It also takes a hard look at what it takes to reinvent a former celeb's career and provides a reality check to those who think that breaking into the industry is ever easy. But ultimately, the voyeuristic core of the show's appeal is the opportunity to see what these former idols look like and find out what they've been up to since their last stroll down the red carpet.
There are moments when the series definitely takes on a tabloid-ish quality, particularly when some of the former idols describe how easily they got caught up in their previous lifestyles and talk about the professional mistakes they made. Tense therapy sessions and emotional moments of self-discovery also add to the drama. It's hardly meaty TV, but teens may find the series entertaining (even if many of these idols were famous before their time) and adults who've ever wondered what happened to these stars may also find themselves drawn in by some of its more nostalgic moments.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between fame and the media. Can someone become famous without being featured in the media? To what extent does the media make people famous vs. simply showing people who are already famous? Families can also discuss the benefits and pitfalls of becoming famous. Teens: Would you want to be famous? For what? Why? How do you think your life would change because of it? Do you think it would become addictive?
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