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 Hollywood Game Night is a zesty game show featuring celebrities competing on behalf of average folks that has potential to be fun for the whole family. The main issue of concern is the amount of drinking depicted, as well as the host's encouragement to home viewers to drink along with the contestants. There are some mild sexual jokes and references, such as when Lynch refers to one celebrity contestant "humping" another. Cursing and offensive language is rare, but there may be some mild epithets such as "Who gives a damn?" Products such as brands of chips are prominently mentioned and their packages shown onscreen as part of a game; celebrities (including some parents may not wish their kids to know about) and their movies and television shows (and charities) are also frequently mentioned.
What's the story?
On HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT, two teams of four made up of three celebrities and one average person compete in games for the shot to win $25,000 (for the non-celeb) and/or $10,000 (for the famous one) for charity. Contestants go head-to-head to play games like identifying close-up pictures of salty snack foods, acting out the films of Tom Hanks, or putting pictures of Johnny Depp in chronological order. Correct answers are awarded points; the team with the most points as the hour draws to a close can play in a bonus round and earn the cash. Meanwhile, host Jane Lynch keeps things moving along, and makes sure that contestants' wineglasses are kept full.
Is it any good?
Primetime game shows featuring funny people were a staple of 1950s TV, and the genre made a comeback in the 1970s, with shows like The Match Game and Hollywood Squares holding down hallowed spots in family-night viewing schedules. Since that time, game shows have gotten both more serious (think Who Wants to be a Millionaire) and more reality-show-ish (think Big Brother). So a throwback like Hollywood Game Night, with famous faces playing goofy games, stands out and seems fresh. Plus, it's tailor-made to the viewing tastes of fortyish parents who remember how funny Richard Dawson and Gene Rayburn were in their youth and want to recapture that game-show fun with their own kids.
Jane Lynch is certainly a loose-limbed and quick-witted host, plus she's honest with her contestants. "You guys were terrible at that game," she admonishes one team who made a poor showing. "Just awful! Go sit down!" Hey, that's what we wanted to say, here on the couch. Ha, that's funny! The celebrities featured on Hollywood Game Night are ones you like: Kristen Bell, Lisa Kudrow, Fred Armisen, and the atmosphere is fizzy and late-night wild: contestants dance with each other, they hold each other's arms so they can't push the buzzer, they insult each other's hair. The silly banter mixed with fun games such as identifying celebrity portraits painted by elementary-school children all adds up to a fun laugh-out-loud hour that's great for family viewing, provided that parents don't mind the onscreen drinking.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the benefit of appearing on a show like this. Why would a celebrity appear on a show like Hollywood Game Night? Do you think it's all about earning money for a charity? What could be another motivation?
Do you think all the celebrities featured on Hollywood Game Night actually like each other? How can you tell? Do they act like they like each other?
Average-folk contestants on Hollywood Game Night can earn $25,000; celebrities can earn $10,000 for charity. How much do you think NBC makes in advertising revenue during an hour-long show like Hollywood Game Night?
Why do celebrities on game shows always compete for charities? What would people think if they won money on a game show that they could keep?
For kids who love funny stuff
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