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 the storylines of this nighttime soap opera (an English-language telenovela) deal with violence, deceit, betrayal, and casual sex. Characters, for the most part, are terrible role models who will do anything to accomplish their own ends. Adults and older teens may find it a guilty pleasure, but children too young to understand the ins and outs of adult romantic relationships -- as well as viewers upset by scenes involving gunfire and explosions -- should tune out. It's campy and over the top, but it's still pretty mature content.
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What's the story?
English-language telenovela DESIRE follows two brothers on the run from the mob who find themselves falling for the same woman ... who has a sordid past of her own. Alex (Zack Silva) and Louis Thomas (Nate Haden) were raised by their single mother, Rita (Eliana Alexander), but they must flee with her to California after their fledgling New Jersey restaurant is burned to the ground by mob boss Joey Gamarra (Chris DeRose) -- who was looking to get back at Louis for his late-night hookup with Gamarra's daughter, Cara (Kelly Albanese). In California the Thomas brothers' long-lost father, Peter Evans (Al Bandiero), gets them jobs in the popular restaurant he manages, where they both fall in love with Andrea Zavatti (Michelle Belegrin), the beautiful daughter of the restaurant's owner. Complicating the triangle is Andrea's spurned lover, George Marston (Tomy Dunster); her conniving best friend, Vivian (Suzy Edwards); her scheming sister, Victoria (Sofia Milos); and the ongoing story of Joey Gamarra -- who won't rest until he makes his revenge against Louis completely final.
Is it any good?
Unlike daytime soaps, Desire is better produced and better acted. It's fast-paced and often feels like a Danielle Steele novel come to life. If viewers expect only titillation from it, they won't be disappointed. But parents wary of poor values and role models should proceed with caution -- the show is packed with implied nudity, one-night stands, back-stabbing characters, and violence.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about relationships and the sticky situations that often accompany them. What happens when two friends like the same person? Is there a right way and a wrong way to manage things? What should someone do when a friend wants to date their ex? Also, are any of the characters in this show admirable in any way? Why or why not? Families can also talk about the telenovela format in general. How is this show similar to and different from the hugely popular Spanish telenovelas? Do you think it's going to catch on the way those shows do?