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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 show about how commercials are made for direct-order products might make you think twice the next time you see an infomerical on TV. Not surprisingly, many real-world products are featured, and some of the industry's tricks of the trade are exposed. While the topic may not appeal to many kids, there's not much in the way of age-inappropriate content except for a few bleeped swear words and occasional celebratory drinks. There is a lot of bickering between the hosts, but it's not mean-spirited.
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What's the story?
But wait, there's more! In a way, PITCHMEN is, at its core, about how that iconic phrase has become a part of our cultural lexicon. Infomercial hosts Billy Mays and Anthony "Sully" Sullivan work with inventors of various odd products to make ads for the direct-order market. The series documents the process all the way from the inventor's pitch to how some of the products are made to how well they eventually do on the market.
Is it any good?
Pitchmen is suprisingly fun. While watching Mays and Sullivan bicker might get grating after an episode or two, the process is fascinating and the storytelling is clean and even funny at times. And there are lots of engaging interviews with the inventors.
While the hosts clearly relish their role in helping inventors make their dreams come true, they do place a lot of emphasis on products. That said, a lot of those products are designed to make people's lives better, and ultimately, that's what sells -- so it's a win-win situation, with or without a special bonus offer thrown in.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what this show teaches viewers about how products are marketed. What tactics do the hosts use? How does that affect your perception of the product they're demonstrating?
How are the techniques described here similar to and different from those used in more conventional advertising? Which has a stronger impact on you? Why?