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 Escape the Night is a scripted reality-style YouTube Red series with an ensemble cast of internet stars. As the story goes, the characters are trapped in a 1920s-era mansion and forced to complete a series of puzzles, collect certain artifacts, and perform a ritual to secure an evil force that's threatening their lives. It's hokey and often formulaic, and it banks on viewers liking the characters enough to overlook the shortcomings in the plot. Expect some suspense and a few scares, but any violent content -- such as a decapitated head served on a dinner platter -- is very mild.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In ESCAPE THE NIGHT, an heir named Joey (Joey Graceffa) invites 10 friends for a roaring '20s-themed dinner party in his new mansion, but the revelry turns serious when one guest is poisoned and the others are tasked with following clues to retrieve a lifesaving antidote. Now trapped inside the house that's possessed by an evil force, the group must work together to solve puzzles and collect artifacts in the hopes that a spell will lock away the evil once more.
Is it any good?
Seizing on the popularity of the escape room fad, this overacted pseudo-reality show is more a platform for B-list actors and internet personalities than it is must-see TV. YouTube stars such as Justine Ezarik, Timothy DeLaGhetto, and Shane Lawson join a smattering of small-screen stars as '20s characters assigned personalities such as the "Jazz Singer" (GloZell Green) and the "Big Game Hunter" (Oli White). Between trying to outdo each other's performances and fading in and out of character as the drama ebbs and flows, there's a lot going on but little that's particularly riveting.
Escape the Night's campy humor and assembly of internet stars will draw some interest from teens especially, and if they're OK with being entertained by a show that doesn't take itself too seriously, they may stick around to find out whodunit. Some moments are more interesting than others, some characters less grating than their peers, and so on. In the end this is a fairly innocuous, if not particularly academic, way to while away time in 30-minute segments.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether this kind of scripted reality format works for Escape the Night and other shows like it. Does the content feel forced because of the show's layout? Is there any learning value to this series?
How does being under pressure affect your ability to perform on tests or on a field of play? Are you more or less able to focus when you're up against a clock, or does it not change how you perform? How do you cope with stressful situations?
Teens: Which, if any, of the stars do you recognize from other media projects? How do technology and the internet affect how we assign celebrity status? Is this kind of open access to vast audiences always a good thing?
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