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 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?