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 although this series about beauty pageant winners doesn't have the kind of over-the-top behavior typical of many other reality shows, some of the subject matter is probably still too mature for tweens and younger kids. There are discussions about the widely reported substance abuse problems of 2006 Miss USA Tara Conner, women appear in bikinis during photo shoots, and there's some cattiness -- but it's decidedly tame for MTV.
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What's the story?
Created by Donald Trump, reality series PAGEANT PLACE follows the lives of the reigning Miss Universe Organization beauty queens after their pageants are over. Miss Universe Riyo Mori, Miss USA Rachel Smith, and Miss Teen USA Katie Blair are sticking to pageant tradition by spending their reigning year living together in a New York high-rise apartment. But unlike their tiara-wearing predecessors, they reign with the knowledge that they must rebuild the pageant organization's damaged reputation, which was tarnished by Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner's notorious battle with alcohol and cocaine abuse. Away from friends and family, the beauty queens spend most of their time on photo shoots, promoting social causes like AIDS Awareness, and keeping up with a hectic schedule of public appearances. Adding to the pressure is the presence of the now-clean-and-sober Conner, whom Trump (owner of the Miss Universe Organization) invited to be the other women's mentor.
Is it any good?
Pageant Place offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at what life is like for pageant winners once they've been crowned. But most of the show's drama comes from the jealous arguments and catty behavior that occasionally erupts among the women once their crowns come off. (Not surprising, Conner's past behavior is sometimes central to these arguments.)
The series is an obvious attempt to remake the image of the Miss Universe Organization by exploiting past scandals and making entertainment out of personal conflict. But, while these pageant winners aren't perfect, they do try to carry themselves according to the values that the Miss Universe Organization is trying to reclaim. As a result, while the show does deal with some mature topics, it's pretty mild viewing compared to its reality-TV contemporaries.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media typically portrays pageant contestants and winners. What stereotypes are often associated with "beauty queens"? How accurate do you think they are? Do you think that pageants today are truly about more than looks? Why or why not? Families can also discuss the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse. Should everyone who gets help get a second chance?
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