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 this series is about the winners of a dancing/singing competition. Cast members are usually friendly and supportive of one another -- fights occur, but they're played up for drama. Sean "Diddy" Combs is instrumental in creating the bands, expecting a successful -- and profitable -- outcome. Episodes have included back stories of the type that can be heartwarming yet troubling to young viewers (one band member visited New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, another left children back at home, etc.). Each member is expected to be sexy, good at dancing, physically fit, manageable, and a strong singer from the get-go. Drinking, provocative dancing, and playing up female members' sexuality are commonplace. Lyrics are sexual and meant for a mature audience.
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What's the story?
MAKING THE BAND takes viewers on a multi-season competition as thousands compete for the coveted position of being in a music group created by Sean "Diddy" Combs. Once a band is selected, the "firsts" of their career are turned into a new round of episodes -- ending with the release of their first album. Each group of five bandmates lives together while recording the album, practicing dance numbers, and promoting their upcoming release. Only one band is created at a time, and the show follows them for two to three seasons. Once the band has launched an album, the competition begins again.
Is it any good?
The series' most enticing element is that viewers see what happens after the struggle -- a feature that's often lost in programs like American Idol and Project Runway. Making the Band has had many makeovers and lived on a few different networks. O-Town (There and Back: Ashley Parker Angel) -- a boy-band jumping on the bandwagon of 'N Sync and The Backstreet Boys -- was created during the first round of the series on the WB and barely made it off the county fair circuit. When the show landed on MTV, Diddy took it to new heights. After creating Da Band, a collection of male and female hip-hop artists, in Making the Band 2, Diddy decided it was time for the ultimate girl super-group. Invoking the powers of the Spice Girls, Making the Band 3's multi-season journey began, looking for five girls to take over the world.
While each group member's talent is admirable, the series is best for mature audiences. It will appeal to younger teens -- and maybe even tweens -- but keep in mind that some group members are over 21, and they act as most young, hyped, recently signed people might in their position.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the members of the group and what drives them in this type of competition. Are success and fame guaranteed? How do members handle their sudden celebrity status while juggling their new relationships with their bandmates? Do any artists stand out from the rest of the group? Are the groups created for the series inspiring in any way? Could the series be one big marketing ploy?