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 after-school reality program has teens searching for a look-alike/act-alike of their favorite celebrity. Contestants transform themselves to fit the celebrity mold and win a date. Contestants use sexuality to gain attention and when they perform -- one teen claimed she was Avril Lavigne "plus a cup size" while another pointed out her "white girl booty" that was reminiscent of Kelly Clarkson.
What's the story?
MY OWN features six pop star wannabes who claim to look, sound, act, or just smile like a celebrity such as Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, or Justin Timberlake. One super fan of the actual star, accompanied by two friends, will determine which wannabe has what it takes to win a date with the super fan. After a series of trivia questions and challenges, the six are narrowed down to three. These remaining contestants go through a mini-makeover, learn a scene from the video of their idol, and have a vocal run-through. The final challenge is a 30-60 second piece of the artists' hit song. This marathon comes to an anticlimactic end when the fan picks his/her own version of the pop star.
Is it any good?
My Own takes celebrity worship to a new low. Not only does it emphasize the importance of appearance, but it goes a step farther and rewards those who happen to resemble someone famous. This is a damaging message to tweens and teens, who are forming their identity and ideas about how dating works -- they're already under enough pressure to look good, but now they need to look like a celebrity too? What ever happened to individuality? The show also offers the confusing idea that the best way to show you're a fan is to date someone who reminds you of your idol...huh?
Aside from the dubious messages it sends, My Own is simply boring. The songs and pop stars have been seen on MTV videos, celebrity magazines, and award shows plenty of times. This show seems like a tired attempt to revive some stars (Justin Timberlake for example) who have since moved on in their career. If teens have a favorite idol, encourage them to take up a similar hobby -- singing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument. It's fine to admire a pop star, but dating someone just because they look like one is just silly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what qualities teens look for in a date/boyfriend/girlfriend. If someone looks like a celebrity, does that make them more appealing? Is it possible to really know what a celeb is like? How important are looks or being cool in choosing a crush or date? Are these lasting qualities in a relationship? What do pop stars represent?