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 reality series -- which follows young people trying to break into the country music scene -- features plenty of MTV-like relationship drama, including flirting and jealous arguments. There's quite a bit of drinking and innuendo and plenty of brand names. On the flip side, the language is mostly mild, and the series does highlight some of the hard work that goes into breaking into a super-competitive industry, as well as the strength required to cope with the rejection the aspiring stars face as they pay their dues.
What's the story?
From the creators of Laguna Beach, NASHVILLE is a reality series that follows the journeys of aspiring country music performers as they struggle to get their big break and land a record deal. Set in the country music capital of the world -- the titular city of Nashville -- the show introduces viewers to a group of people brought together by their aspirations and the Nashville social circuit. There's singer Rachel Bradshaw (daughter of former NFL star Terry Bradshaw); Matt Jenkins, who's starting over after losing his record deal; Chuck Wicks, a rising star who's promoting what he hopes will be his first hit single; and talented newcomer Mika Combs. Bradshaw's friends/aspiring singers Sarah Gunsolus and Lindsay Hager, as well as musicians Jeff Allen and Jamie Johnson, are also part of the ensemble. And in the middle of everything is Clint Jenkins, a wealthy, flirtatious non-musician who has connections within the industry thanks to his father's private jet company.
Is it any good?
The show's strength is the intimate look it offers at the hard work, passion, and inner resolve that goes into building a country music career. Whether they're showcasing for label execs or playing local dives for rent money, all of these young artists are shown pouring their heart and soul into their music as they try to make it in an industry that's most likely going to reject them -- each must compete with literally thousands of other hopefuls for space at the top. Nashville thankfully lacks the superficial glitziness of shows like Laguna Beach and its reality counterparts -- instead focusing on the down-to-earth atmosphere from which country music is born by following young people who are willing to pay their dues in order to reach the top. But the value of their journey is diluted by a few too many soap-like storylines that center on the cast's personal relationships, some of which are fraught with tense, jealous moments (not to mention innuendo, alcohol, and heavy flirting).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how "real" this reality show is. Does any part of it feel set up or rehearsed? Do you think it's an accurate representation of what goes into trying to become a country music star? Is breaking into the country scene different from breaking into any other kind of music genre? Why or why not? Does Nashville really seem like the place to "make it big" vs. cities like New York or Los Angeles? Families can also talk about their favorite country musicians. How did they get their big break?