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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know MADE is an MTV documentary series. There's occasional minor profanity or some bleeped words. Crushes are discussed, but there's no sexual content. Kids are sometimes teased, but it's made clear that this sort of behavior isn't acceptable.
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What's the story?
In MADE, MTV chooses an ordinary high school student who has a dream or goal such as "I want to be a pageant queen" or "I want to be a standup comedian." The teen gets a life coach to help him or her learn the new trade and a little over a month to achieve it. At the end of the allotted time period, a "coming out" is held where the young man or woman tests out his or her newfound skills in front of an audience of peers, almost always with great success.
Is it any good?
Whether or not you and your kids are fans of reality television, if you enjoy a good success story, you'll get something out of this series. For middle school kids, it offers a realistic view of what life in high school could be like for all different types of students, both popular and not. And all kids will get the message that if you want to reach a goal, you must work hard for it -- the show doesn't gloss over the sacrifices one must make in order to achieve success.
A departure from most reality television programs, MADE is narrated by the goal-setter, and is presented as if you're watching his or her video journal. Despite this difference, the show is very formulaic like most reality shows: the goal is laid out, a life coach is introduced, and the goal-setter goes through up and downs, and finally there is a "MADE Moment" where the student performs to applause, compliments, and, ultimately, success. Knowing that every time you watch you'll get a happy ending makes MADE a feel-good show with just enough tension to keep you engaged the entire hour. Who knows -- maybe it will inspire your kids to set a goal and go after it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether or not it's realistic for the teens on MADE to learn a new skill in a month's time. Would these kids be able to achieve their dreams without their life coaches?
They could also talk about how the teens are initially treated, and then how they're treated after their goal is achieved. How does confidence and self-esteem play a role here?
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