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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 adults-only cable drama features explicit sex scenes including topless women, bare-bottomed men, and (hidden) sex toy usage. Drug use is rampant, including one scene of cocaine being snorted by a pregnant woman while she commits suicide. One attractive, appealing character is a drug dealer, while the celebrities portrayed are sometimes complex -- both backstabbing and sympathetic. Some creepy, if unique, elements include a pregnant ghost woman in a romantic relationship with a (live) mentally ill man.
What's the story?
Courteney Cox gets down and dirty in this dark cable drama about the love-hate relationship between a tabloid magazine and the celebrities it covers. She stars as Dirt editor-in-chief Lucy Spiller, whose steely ambition keeps her at the top of the gossip rag game as she pulls in stories about celebs' sex- and drug-crazed lives. Spiller's closest friend, schizophrenic paparazzo Don Konkey (Ian Hart), lives in a surreal state swirling with imaginary characters, words that come to life, and musical pill bottles. Meanwhile, the celebrities, while hounded by Spiller's hungry staff for the tawdry details of their lives, deal with their own dark issues. For example, star Holt McLaren (Josh Stewart) sells out his girlfriend for a chance at fame, with tragic results. Another celeb sleeps with a hooker while presenting a scrubbed-clean family-man image to the public.
Is it any good?
Just as the tabloids can be an addictive guilty pleasure, DIRT feeds the public's fascination with Hollywood and celebrity culture and offers some compelling characters and quirky plot elements. While Cox's Spiller comes off a little flat, mentally ill paparazzo Don Konkey is much more interesting to watch. Though most would agree that Konkey's type of voyeuristic, long-lens photography is morally reprehensible, his character elicits sympathy and some of the rare tender moments in this otherwise salacious drama.
Like other FX dramas, Dirt is most certainly not for kids, even most teens. Characters take drugs with abandon -- snorting cocaine, smoking pot, and popping ecstasy (even while pregnant). One occasional character is a beautiful drug dealer who flirts with the young starlets she supplies. And sex scenes are explicit, including topless women, bare-bottomed men, and lots of sexy talk.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about celebrities, privacy, and paparazzi. How much privacy are celebrities entitled to? What limits should paparazzi follow? Do you buy gossip magazines? Do you think these magazines endanger the lives or safety of celebrities? Do movie stars agree to be followed by photographers by virtue of their chosen business? Why is our society so obsessed with stars' private lives? Does a show like this reinforce that obsession or undermine it? How do the media skew our impressions of celebrities?