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 each 90-second episode of this Michael Eisner-produced hit online teen soap opera/mystery premieres on MySpace before showing up on other Web sites. And it's just as racy as what teens might see on pay cable. While there's no full-fledged nudity, characters do get naked at times, and several scenes show underwear-clad teen girls. The characters flirt heavily, make out, and speak openly about "getting laid"; they also drink and take pills. Profanity is rampant and uncensored. Expect catty behavior between teen girls, as well as unhealthy teen romantic relationships.
What's the story?
PROM QUEEN is an online scripted high school soap opera that follows a group of students during the last months of senior year as they look forward to the prom. Cut into in 90-second episodes, the show (which is executive produced by Michael Eisner) airs daily on MySpace, YouTube, and other Web sites -- including its own site, promqueen.tv. (All of the main characters have MySpace pages, too.)
Is it any good?
Each episode is so short that it can only hint at a story, but some appealing -- if caricatured -- personas are packed into each minute and a half. And what little plot there is involves romantic connections, the pursuit of sex, and the emotional turbulence of adolescence -- with a healthy dose of teen-oriented technology tossed in for authenticity. For example, in one episode, the tensely perfect Nikki Wagner (Alexandra French) records a video blog announcing her break up with Ben (Sean Hankinson) and, in an overly chipper voice, asks viewers who meet certain financial criteria to audition to be her prom date. After she turns off the video recorder, she breaks into tears, partly because she realizes how pathetic she's become and partly because her dream of the perfect night might not come true.
In addition to Prom Queen's high school pathos is its underlying mystery, which is alluded to its tag line ("Some Girls Would Kill for It") and in the promo that shows a girl applying lipstick, zipping up her dress, and sticking a dagger in her garter belt. Viewers know that someone will get killed (or at least almost killed), and that information causes viewers to look at every character with suspicion. Despite its less-than-original story, Prom Queen has a lot going for it as a guilty pleasure. Strong characters, quirkiness, universal themes, and a knack for building momentum join in a unique format that's inherently addictive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the growing popularity of online television. What do you think is behind the trend? Why would producers want to make a show for the Internet instead of "regular" television? What appeal do online shows have for viewers? In general, how are Internet series and regular TV shows similar and different? What do you like and not like about each? Is this a show that could only exist online, or is it just a regular TV show cut up into short bits? How does the look and feel of the show mimic user-generated content?
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