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From G's to Gents
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 competition series -- in which men compete for a cash prize by transforming their inner-city "gangster" image into one that's more gentleman-like -- promotes the idea that living or acting like a gangster is a negative choice that can keep people from bettering their lives. While there's some greedy behavior, most of the contestants treat the experience as a chance to improve their lives. Expect lots of strong language (though words like "f--k" and "s--t" are bleeped), drinking, smoking, and other iffy behavior. Some of the contestants' conversations touch on subjects like prostitution, drug dealing, and other crimes. But these actions aren't treated as acceptable, and contestants are challenged to change this behavior.
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What's the story?
FROM G'S TO GENTS follows 14 self-described \"G's\" (men who think that being hard and tough is the solution to all situations) as they attempt to transition from bad boy to gentleman -- and win $100,000. The streetwise guys start by joining a fictitious but exclusive Los Angeles \"gentlemen's club\" hosted by stylish hip-hop artist Fonzworth Bentley. Then, with the help of life and style coaches -- as well as some well-known music artists -- the contestants learn life skills ranging from basic table etiquette to professionalism. They then must apply their new skills in a series of challenges. Each week the cast has a chance to vote someone out of the club. The three who get the most votes must face Bentley, who decides which unfortunate fellow's membership will be revoked. The last remaining member wins the prize.
Is it any good?
The show, which is produced by award-winning actor Jamie Foxx, sets itself apart from most other hip-hop-oriented shows by not glorifying the male "gangster" image and suggesting that choosing the gangster lifestyle (or even just looking like one) provides an "easy out" for guys who are intimidated by trying to build a better life for themselves and their loved ones. The series also promotes the idea that a man's self-esteem can be built up through education. While many of the contestants take advantage of these lessons, a few miss the mark and attempt to scheme their way toward the cash instead. And others fall back into some bad habits, which include threatening people and drinking heavily.
Granted, watching some of these rough guys navigate awkwardly through cricket matches and wine tastings can be funny to watch. But these moments give participants a chance to realize that there are alternative ways to experience the world. It also sends the message that if they choose to work hard for it, they can be part of a society in which they'll be respected for making positive contributions rather than intimidating people. And while these positive take-aways make the show worthwhile viewing for teens and adults, some of its content -- from lewd comments to swearing to gritty personal stories of life on the streets -- makes it iffy for younger viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different ways that the media can be used to help educate viewers. What kinds of lessons is this show trying to teach? Are they only applicable to people who embrace the "gangster" image? What does that image represent? Is it stereotypical? Do you think the media (music videos, for example) generally promotes this image as a positive thing?