High School Musical: Get in the Picture
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Reality series will leave kids craving more HSM.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Tensions run high during the auditions, and plenty of tears are shed when competitors are passed over by judges. But the tone is mostly positive, and the scouts' criticism includes constructive advice about how the performers can improve upon their talents. The series does stereotype competitors slightly by identifying them in terms of high school hierarchy: "prom king," "class clown," "honor student," "cheerleader," etc. The competitors are a diverse bunch.
Products & Purchases
Host Nick Lachey plugs the show's Web site, encouraging viewers to log on and vote in weekly polls. The series heavily promotes High School Musical 3.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality series competition is inspired by Disney's ultra-popular High School Musical franchise, so kids are bound to be interested. It has a direct connection to the third movie (due in theaters Oct. 2008): The show's eventual winner will star in a music video to air during High School Musical 3's credits. All of that, plus host Nick Lachey's plugs for the show's Web site, may leave parents feeling a little over-sold on the whole package. That aside, the series shines the spotlight on talented youths from diverse walks of life, and overall the talent scouts are supportive and offer constructive criticism to competitors without belittling their efforts.
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What's the Story?
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: GET IN THE PICTURE is a reality-based performance competition that offers its eventual winner the lead in a music video that will air during the credits of the much-anticipated High School Musical 3: Senior Year, due in theaters Oct. 2008. The series, which is hosted by Nick Lachey, is set up as a nationwide search -- through open casting calls and video submissions -- for a talented, charismatic teen to add his or her name to the HSM roster and score a Disney recording contract. Regional semi-finalists advance to group conservatory training under the direction of six talent scouts dubbed "the faculty," who help the contestants hone their skills and put their abilities to the test in weekly elimination rounds.
Is It Any Good?
This series essentially is a youthful version of American Idol, tricked out with all the brand-name trimmings of the HSM franchisee. Constant product references include clips from the first two films, snippets from the soundtracks, and cameos by the stars themselves, making the show feel more like a blatant promotional tool for the upcoming movie than a reality contest. If your kids are already flushed with HSM fever, they're not likely to complain about the build-up to the third movie, but you might be left wondering whether marketing execs ever take a holiday.
That said, the series does demonstrate the positive aspect of competitions like American Idol -- namely, giving average people from diverse backgrounds the chance to use their talent to change their lives. Some of the teens' stories are emotional and inspiring, and it's easy to get caught up in rooting for particular contestants. And as far as reality contests go, the fact that this one stars young performers means that the judges offer fewer nasty comments and more constructive criticism that the teens can build on for future success.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about product placement in the media. Does this series make you want to watch the High School Musical movies? Do you think it would have stood out from other talent contests if it weren't affiliated with the HSM movies? Why or why not? How much does what we see on TV affect our habits regarding food, clothing, and leisure activities? How does the media make certain products seem desirable? What products do you notice in other TV shows and movies? Also, why do you think the HSM franchise is so popular in the first place?
- Premiere date: July 20, 2008
- Cast: Nick Lachey
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 24, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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