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 the producers of this music-laden reality series seemed to have kept their target audience in mind -- tween girls -- when they hand-picked their prospective band members and planned the show's content. In keeping with Menudo's squeaky-clean image, these boys are attractive without being overtly sexual and tend to sing about genuinely innocent themes like falling in love and having fun. There's none of the partying -- and relatively little of the conflict -- that tends to mark MTV reality shows.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Much like other reality shows cut from the same cloth, the wannabe singers in Making Menudo compete for a spot in the five-member act through a series of elimination-style challenges. Along the way, they're put through the wringer by band manager Johnny Wright (the same man who helped launch the careers of *NSync and the Backstreet Boys) and David Coury, the group's musical director and vocal coach.
Is it any good?
Despite the fact that so-called "boy bands" have largely gone into hibernation, the producers of MAKING MENUDO are desperately trying to revive the tired fad. And they're betting it all on the "Menudo" name, a 20-plus-year-old brand that might evoke nostalgic memories for some parents but may not resonate with the tweens and teens the show is targeted at. The show's creators did a fine job rounding up prospective young band members between the ages of 13 and 17 who will appeal to boy-crazy young girls. And they've also taken great pains to make sure that the show's content remains relatively tame for young viewers. After all, they wouldn't want to alienate their target audience.
Both Wright and Coury take their jobs so seriously that they practically scare the boys (and any young viewers watching) away from the musical business entirely. But, given the low percentage of child stars who actually emerge from the business unscathed, perhaps that's a good thing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fantasy of being a world-famous pop star versus the reality of all the hard work that goes into it. What types of activities do young musicians miss out on while they're recording an album or rehearsing for a concert? How many members of other "boy bands" have gone on to have successful solo careers as adults? And why do you think the producers wanted to make this show in the first place? Was it simply to entertain audiences -- or to sell more records?