What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality show about a colorful car dealership owner has both positive and iffy messages. Teens might be encouraged to see an unusual character succeeding in business -- for those who think they need to give up things they enjoy (like hip-hop-inspired clothing or lingo) in order to own a business or make money, this show will prove that idea wrong. But that positive message is accompanied by an emphasis on expensive material items (cars, jewelry, etc.), as well as brutal competition, backstabbing, and occasional humiliation. Women in the show are peripheral players at best.
What's the story?
The larger-than-life persona of Jeff \"Chop\" Towbin -- also known as the \"king of cars\" -- drives the action in reality show KING OF CARS, which is set in a Las Vegas car dealership. Unlike a typical car salesman, Chop wears giant, bling-y jewelry, affects a street-smart style, and belongs to a rap group called Tru Cents, but despite his unconventional style (or perhaps because of it), Chop's dealership is successful, and his customized cars -- tricked-out vehicles with white rims or specialized hydraulics -- garner attention and praise. Chop runs the business, comes up with promotions, and motivates and punishes his crew, some of whom are equally colorful characters, such as Prem Singh, who is painted blue and called the Blue Genie. Other salespeople affect personas, too -- like Versace Mariachi, a Latino salesman who plays in a Mariachi band and is a suave dresser, and Auto Marshall, a tight-pants-wearing, cowboy hat-sporting salesman who wears a badge and tries to show the new sales recruits the lay of the land. Aside from following the drama of the shop -- which includes a promotion called \"Ugly Truckling Contest\" in which people bring in their beat-up vehicles with the hopes of winning $1,000 (which Chop hopes they'll want to put toward a down payment on a new truck) -- cameras follow Chop when he's off duty, too. Scenes have included Chop laying down tracks with his hip-hop group in the studio or going to a surprise birthday party thrown by his fiancée, Venus.
Is it any good?
While King of Cars is far from educational television, Chop's personality is appealing, and getting a peek inside an unusual car dealership is entertaining, as are the various characters who pop in and out of the shop.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about which values are emphasized at the dealership. What qualities does Chop value in his employees? How does he motivate them? What kind of moral code, if any, exists between the salespeople? Do you think customers are handled respectfully? Ethically? What are some positive values you see reflected in this show? Negative ones?