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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Addresses themes like exploitation, child physical and sexual abuse, and homophobia. Friendship and survival are also themes.
Positive Role Models
Edgardo Díaz is accused of exploiting members of the band. He's also accused of being a child sexual molester by some members. Some parents actively removed their kids from the band after realizing that it was an unsafe environment. Some band members discuss surviving sexual abuse and overcoming the stigma.
Most of Menudo's original band members were Puerto Rican; some were raised on the U.S. mainland. Some later members came from other Latin American countries. Several band members self-define as LGBTQ+.
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Violence & Scariness
There are conversations about childhood physical, emotional, and sexual abuse (including rape) at the hands of the band's producers and others. Fears of getting trampled by fans are discussed. Stories about performing in El Salvador during the war include conversations about guns and teen soldiers going to the front. A musician working with the band dies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Band members describe having the opportunity to have sex with multiple women while on tour.
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There's some occasional profanity ("damn," "s--t") uttered.
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Products & Purchases
There's lots of Menudo albums, concert footage, fan magazines, and other media featured throughout the series, but these are offered in a historical context vs. a commercial one.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking and drug use (pot, cocaine) is discussed. Two Menudo members were arrested for marijuana possession in 1990. One band member talks about being given a drink and blacking out.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Menudo: Forever Young (aka Menudo: siempre jóvenes) is a bilingual documentary series about the iconic Latin pop group Menudo, and what life was like behind the scenes for its members. While it offers lots of nostalgic media footage, music, and fun stories about life in the band, it also features mature narratives about about child labor exploitation and childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse (including some explicit details). Teen sexual activity, drinking, and drug use (including arrests and a death) is also discussed, and occasional profanity is used.
Is It Any Good?
The nostalgic but troubling bilingual docuseries reveals the behind-the-scenes world of one of the biggest Latin boy bands in history. It discusses how band producer Edgardo Díaz's formula for Menudo's success raked in billions of dollars for him while overworking and underpaying its members. It also addresses how Díaz, in an effort to keep parents from interfering in the process, required the guardianship of the boys (whose ages ranged from 11 to16) be signed over to him while they were with the group, leaving them unsupervised and vulnerable. Not surprisingly, a lot of the series addresses their exposure to drugs, sexual situations, and other decidedly adult activities that resulted from this arrangement. Even more disturbing are the stories about the physical, verbal, and sexual violence band members suffered at the hands of Díaz and others, and their reluctance to report it due to fears of rejection and homophobia.
But Menudo: Forever Young also gives former band members the opportunity to share what they loved about being part of the group, including the camaraderie and the love of their fans. Menudo devotees from way back when will also appreciate the media excerpts featuring their favorite band members (including now-superstar Ricky Martin) and learning more about what they are doing today. But even if you weren't (and still aren't) a fan, the series offers a still-timely history about how the teen pop boy band formula got started, and why much of it is still in use today.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.