TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Paparazzi TV Poster Image
The camera turns on the relentless photo hounds.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Many of the photographers are little more than stalkers hiding behind a camera. Although most often what they do doesn't break any laws, their ruthlessness clearly crosses the line. Many photographers' tipsters happily sell details of their celeb friends' lives to the eager paparazzi.


Some photographers and agency executives throw or kick objects to let out their frustration. Occasionally the celebrities fight back at photographers, lunging at or striking them in anger.


The cameras often focus on shots of female celebrities in skimpy bikinis.


"Prick," "ass," and "s--t" are common, as are the many edited (but still decipherable) versions of "f--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's the infrequent cigarette or alcoholic beverage during down time, but those partaking are of age.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British reality show casts light on how photo agencies profit from capturing shots of celebrities at inopportune or unsuspecting moments. They usually manage to get their photos without actually breaking any laws, but it can be disturbing to see how far they'll go for their goal. The most appalling aspect of the show (besides the constant strong language) is the snappers' outright glee over capturing on film a celebrity's anger, sadness, or less-than-perfect appearance.

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What's the story?

British reality show PAPARAZZI takes viewers behind the cameras that haunt celebrities' every move, attempting to show the business through the eyes of those who profit from the photos that fill the tabloids. Viewers ride shotgun as photographer Darryn Lyons and his colleagues at Big Pictures agency follow tips about celebs' whereabouts, tailing them to restaurants, beauty salons, department stores, and their homes. Often photo teams are sent on general assignments to vacation hot spots like Barbados, where they stake out the beaches and eateries, waiting for famous folks like Brad Pitt, Michael Douglas, and Kate Moss to wander into view so they can snap a few shots of their unsuspecting victims. The photographers (or "snappers," as they're often called) share the stresses of their job, which range from getting the cold shoulder or a few choice words from average citizens (this one usually only bothers the rookies) to losing out on the perfect shot to a rival agency. It quickly becomes apparent to viewers that empathy and respect rarely tug at the consciences of these snappers, who are seldom deterred by security personnel or their subjects' pleas for privacy.

Is it any good?

The most disturbing aspect of Paparazzi is how real it is. Mature viewers who can stomach the photographers' arrogance and outrageous invasions of privacy will be amazed (and more than slightly appalled) at the lengths to which they'll go for the sought-after "money shot." Believe it or not, it's rarely about being at the right place at the right time. Often one marketable photo is the result of a team effort to monitor the stars' movements, keep tabs on their travel plans, and remain in contact with the tipsters -- who many times are close friends to the stars and are financially rewarded for their information.

Although its strong language and overall disturbing nature make the show an iffy choice, parents who do tune in with teens might find themselves having an interesting conversation about how laws balance citizens' rights to privacy with the public's right for information.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about privacy and what constitutes an invasion of it. When should people be able to expect privacy? Is it different when you're famous? Is it fair for celebrities to be upset by the paparazzi when the stars have chosen to put themselves in the public eye? How would kids feel if they were constantly under public scrutiny? Why is our society so obsessed with stars' private lives? Does a show like this reinforce that obsession or undermine it? How do the media skew our impressions of celebrities?

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