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Girls Behaving Badly
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 hidden-camera series revolves around playing pranks on unsuspecting people. In general, the jokes are carefully orchestrated, don't cause real physical harm, and aren't mean-spirited (unlike the gags over on Punk'd), but some of them push the boundaries of what can be considered "good clean fun."
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What's the story?
Hidden-camera reality/comedy series GIRLS BEHAVING BADLY follows a group of women who play pranks on unsuspecting people for a good laugh. At the center of the action are trained comediennes Chelsea Handler, Melissa Howard, Shondrella Avery, Kira Soltanovich, and Niki Lennstrom (later seasons also feature Laura Dedona and Tori Meyer-Mullen). Their modern, all-female take on Candid Camera involves staging a series of well-calculated, often-outrageous set of circumstances that lure people into being unsuspecting participants in their practical jokes. Both the cast and the "victims" create some funny moments as they react to each other during the mischief, which includes everything from delaying store check-out lines for seemingly ridiculous reasons to hurling dodge balls at unsuspecting shoppers to getting people to do things that they would otherwise never do in public.
Is it any good?
While most of this show's pranks are harmless and in good fun, some are rather silly and verge on mean-spiritedness (taping signs on random people's backs for others to ridicule, for example). And sometimes it's not clear whether some of the targets are ever let in on the joke. But the series' strength is how it creatively and effectively showcases the cast's comedic talent -- they fearlessly draw people into their stunts by acting friendly, seductive, weird, crazy, and, at times, even frightening. Their talent for fooling unsuspecting people into believing that the craziness happening to them is real is what makes the show worth watching.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between harmless pranks and jokes that can potentially have serious consequences. When do pranks cross the line? What's an example of an inappropriate or harmful prank? How does it feel to be the butt of a joke? Families can also talk about what it takes to be a successful comedienne. What challenges do women face when pursuing a career in comedy? Are there things that male comics do that may not seem natural for a female?