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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 hidden-camera series is a surefire winner with kids and tweens, who will enjoy seeing their favorite Disney stars pull pranks on some of their biggest fans. The set-ups are outrageous, the stars play their parts perfectly, and the victims are predictably shell-shocked by the experience, so, all in all, it's an entertaining watch. That said, the show does create its comedy by singling out victims and forcing them into awkward and uncomfortable situations, so be sure to follow up by chatting with your kids about how these same actions, if taken too far, could be hurtful.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In PRANKSTARS, Disney celebs like Selena Gomez and Debby Ryan surprise some of their biggest fans after enlisting the help of the subjects' families and the show's host, Mitchel Musso. Each episode features three set-ups, each one pairing an unsuspecting tween or teen victim with his or her favorite star in an off-the-wall scenario. Musso dictates the actors' moves from a hidden room where he and the subjects' family members watch the victim squirm as the events unfold ... until the big reveal that brings the fans face-to-face with their TV favorites on real terms.
Is it any good?
Disney fans will jump at the chance to see some of their favorite actors in this slightly less-scripted light, and the stars themselves seem to enjoy getting in on the action when it comes to pranking their admirers. From the outside, it seems impossible that the victims would fall for the outlandish set-ups they're forced into (hand-feeding their favorite actors or wearing ridiculous accessories that a star is said to like, for instance), and it does speak to the power of celebrity persuasion, even though it's all in jest within this show.
There's no denying that this mostly harmless show is meant solely to entertain (which it does well), but it's worth noting that the series' humor comes at the expense of the unsuspecting victims, who are put in pretty uncomfortable situations. The fact that they're good sports about it and usually wind up laughing at themselves helps lighten the mood, but don't miss the opportunity to talk to your kids about how it feels to be the brunt of a joke and the difference between laughing with someone and laughing at them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about being sensitive to others' feelings. How does it feel to be put in an uncomfortable situation? Do you like being the center of attention? How do you know when a joke has been taken too far?
Do you think the subjects would feel differently about what they were subjected to if it didn't involve a celebrity? How would you feel if your family volunteered you for something like this? Would you have gone along with what the celeb asked?
Who are some of your favorite celebrities? Would you consider them role models? Why or why not? What do you know about their off-screen behavior? Does the media cast them in a positive or negative light?