Pop Fiction

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Pop Fiction TV Poster Image
Celebs turn tables on tabloids in prank show.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show's entire premise -- fooling the press -- is dishonest; the featured stars also benefit from the misguided media attention. Some celebs are trying to get revenge on the paparazzi.

Violence

Some pushing and shoving as members of the paparazzi trip over themselves while trying to photograph celebrities.

Sex

Some scenarios include some mild sexual innuendo. One celeb pretends to be pregnant.

Language

Words like "hell" and "damn" are sometimes audible.

Consumerism

Celebrities' appearances could be seen as self-promotional. They're also shown entering/exiting some local L.A. establishments.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional glimpses of drinking at restaurants.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this prank show features celebrities playing jokes on tabloid journalists. They publicly do things -- like appearing to be pregnant or going into children's clothing boutiques -- that will encourage the media to create false rumors about them. While they're ostensibly making a point about the media, they also benefit from the resulting media frenzy. Celebrity-watching teens may find the show entertaining, but some of the scenarios the celebs create are a bit mature for viewers younger than that.

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What's the story?

In POP FICTION, celebrities turn the tables on the tabloids by deliberately luring them into reporting false rumors about them. With the help of host Peter Katona, stars purposely do things in front of the paparazzi like shop with eccentric-looking shamans or wear outfits that make them look pregnant -- the goal being to spark speculation and, hopefully, generate a media feeding frenzy. After each well-planned charade is over, the participants go back and take note of how the tabloids exploited it all.

Is it any good?

Produced by Punk'd creator Ashton Kutcher, Pop Fiction pokes fun at the tabloid media and their often-desperate attempts to get juicy information about celebs' personal lives. Not surprisingly, the paparazzi often look foolish as they literally trip over themselves trying to get pictures of the stars' antics, while bloggers and tabloid shows make themselves look silly by reporting the details of these staged events. Meanwhile, the folks involved in the farce justify their actions by claiming that it's simply payback for how the tabloid press treats them on a daily basis and take pleasure in making fun of the buzz they've created.

Watching people like Paris Hilton outsmart the paparazzi has its entertaining moments, but the behavior of these celebrities is a tad dishonest and, ultimately, self-serving. True, they may not be openly lying to the press, but their actions are clearly intended to encourage the media to make specific assumptions about them. It's also a chance for these famous folks to stay in the spotlight -- which only adds to their celebrity status, despite the misguided headlines. This, combined with some mature material, makes the series a less than ideal pick for young kids. But teen celebrity fans mature enough to understand the concept behind the show will most likely find it entertaining.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about tabloid journalism. What's the difference between a tabloid show and a "regular" news show? Why do tabloids seem to get away with reporting rumors instead of facts? What are the roles of Internet bloggers and the paparazzi in these kinds of shows? Families can also discuss what it's like to live in the media spotlight. What do you think it's like to have people always craving details about your personal life? Do celebrities purposely attract this kind of attention to help their careers?

TV details

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