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, even though this series is presented as a documentary-style "reality" show about a girl going through her senior year of high school, much of it feels at least partially scripted. So teens should know that they aren't necessarily watching actual events unfold ... at least, not exactly as they'd unfold in real life. On the up side, the show has some positive messages about shattering stereotypes and reaching out across chasms between cliques. But the characters' penchant for salty language (including heavy use of "douche" and terms like "hell," "damn," and "bitch," along with a few instances of bleeped curses) makes it an iffy choice for viewers who haven't yet hit high school themselves.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
High school senior Liz Lee lets cameras capture her world in MY LIFE AS LIZ, a reality series about being a teenager in the small southern town of Burleson, Texas. According to Liz, most people in Burleson -- including her school's resident \"shallow bitch squad\" -- are too close-minded to get her against-the-grain style. But she's found some kindred souls in her best friends Sully, Troy, and Miles, and she's making inroads with Bryson, a cute boy who refuses to be categorized.
Is it any good?
It's tough to critique the merits of a show that proclaims to be real but often doesn't feel that way (many of the show's moments seem like they must be scripted). My Life as Liz would be just as effective if it were presented as a scripted drama and peopled with unknown actors instead of unknown teens. And aren't these teens already doing a good bit of acting anyway by allowing producers to set up cameras and get multiple-angle shots of their conversations? It's a wobbly world we weave.
So what is it about "reality" -- or at least the illusion of it -- that's seemingly so appealing to TV viewers? It could have something to do with the harsh reality that similarly themed teen dramas like My So-Called Life and Freaks and Geeks -- hailed by critics but largely ignored by audiences -- were ultimately canceled. Ouch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what this show really is: Is it a reality show, or is it a scripted drama? And, more importantly, does that matter? What are some of the clues that it isn't entirely "real"?
Which characters do you relate to the most -- and who do you think is the most admirable? Do you see Liz as a positive role model? Does she always make the right decisions?
What does the show have to say about stereotypes? Have you ever had a preconceived notion about someone, only to realize later that you were wrong? Which is easier -- making a snap judgment about another person or getting to know them?
For kids who love interesting characters
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