A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
I WANT A FAMOUS FACE follows young adults who undergo plastic surgery in order to look like a celebrity. The show has chronicled a wannabe Ricky Martin, Carmen Electra, Britney Spears, twins trying to break into modeling by going for the looks of Brad Pitt, a couple of Pamela Andersons, and a transsexual wanting all things Jennifer Lopez. The individual who's being followed has a variety of reasons behind their need to change their looks, desires ranging from breaking into modeling, getting featured in Playboy, getting involved with stripping, and occasionally, pursuing acting.
Is it any good?
I Want a Famous Face should raise concern among parents of MTV viewers. While other makeover shows try to put "contestants" into an "ideal" image of beauty, this program follows individuals who are already determined to take on the looks and features of their celebrity of choice. The message of I Want a Famous Face is that in our celebrity-driven culture, the way to be considered attractive is to look like a star. Watching these physical transformations result in bleak copies of the real celebrity is both disturbing and unsettling.
Watching a grueling surgery and seeing the patients sent home the same day may give young viewers false impressions of complications or severity of surgical routines. MTV does attempt to splice in some negative experiences. A woman who got breast implants and had to have them removed tells her story, or a young man who wanted to look like a celebrity shares the pain he went through when his operation went awry. Adding this element is certainly a good effort, but it is overshadowed by the attention grabbing-antics of the man or woman we're watching go through the transition at that moment. Still, there's plenty of room for parents to discuss consequences, issues of body image and self-confidence with kids, as well as the financial expense of such operations.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why these people feel the need to physically transform themselves. Graphic images of surgery, pre-, post-, and during will require some explanation. Ask your kids what qualities they think makes someone attractive. You can also talk to them about consequences, body image, self-confidence, and the lengths people will go to fit in and gain acceptance. How far do we need to go to fit in, to get noticed, or to accept ourselves? Instead of cutting themselves up to look like someone else, what else could the people featured on the show do to improve their self-image?