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 online High School Musical spoof isn't intended for kids. Each episode, which comes with a clear Parental Advisory logo, is full of crude lyrics, profanity (nothing is bleeped), strong sexual innuendo, drug use, and references to other inappropriate behaviors. The series can be viewed on its own Web site, YouTube, and other online sources.
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What's the story?
PRIVATE HIGH MUSICAL is a decidedly adult parody of the popular tween hit High School Musical. It stars rising online celeb Taryn Southern as Sandra Smith, a nerdy new student who arrives at Private High as a naïve virgin. She finds herself questioning her decision to save herself for that "special one" after meeting promiscuous Ashley Slutsky (Lauren Mayhew) and her brother Chad (Mark Hapka), lesbian Robyn (Marisa Lauren), stoner Shoe (Jeff D'Agostino), and others. Adding to her confusion are her feelings for popular Trey Baller (Robert Adamson), who seems to be falling for her despite her awkward ways.
Is it any good?
Despite the cast's Disney-esque ability to break into song and dance at every turn, the driving force behind this online show is its attempt to be as racy as possible. Each 12-minute episode is full of endless crude sexual innuendo, gratuitous bad language, and conversations about eating disorders, drug use, and other problematic behaviors. The songs' raunchy lyrics talk about subjects like getting your period and inappropriate relationships with teacher Mr. Johnson (ironically played by Saved By the Bell's Dennis Haskins).
But what makes these tunes really sour is the fact that PHM lacks the smart or clever writing that would elevate its bawdy content above just pushing the envelope of good taste for the sake of cheap laughs. Instead, it comes off as a weak musical spoof created simply to shock and titillate. Some adults may find something entertaining in this sort of thing, but its overall messages makes this school musical inappropriate for kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages behind spoofs. Are these movies and shows created simply to make fun of the originals, or do some of them offer a larger social commentary? What kinds of audiences are they trying to tap into?. Families can also discuss the similarities and differences between Internet series and regular TV shows. What's the appeal of online shows? Do you think online shows are more creative than what's on broadcast and cable TV? Why kinds of things can online shows feature that television can't? Parents: check out CSM's Internet Safety Guide for tips on making decisions about what content is age appropriate for your kids.