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 Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll / Girlicious is a reality show that revolves around scantily clad burlesque pop singers/dancers. For good and bad, the format mimics most competition/talent-based reality shows, down to the predictability. Also predictably, there's lots of skin on display (though other than that, the show is remarkably clean).
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What's the story?
Welcome to yet another reality show: PUSSYCAT DOLLS PRESENT. This time, the prize isn't $1 million at the end of a long, global race or a stint on an isolated island. Here, the winner's reward is fame as part of a "girl group" that dispenses dance- and R&B-inflected pop tunes with a little -- or, perhaps more accurately, a lot -- of bump and grind. This series plays out in much the same way that other competition/talent-based shows do. Finalists are weeded out from hordes of hopefuls and then live together while they vie to be the last woman standing. There are even William Hung types who just don't belong in the tryouts at all (though blissfully, viewers are spared the vulture-like behavior of panelists passing judgments on the outclassed).
Is it any good?
With so many scantily clad contestants -- the teeniest, most flesh-baring ensembles are de rigueur for the group -- it would be easy to dismiss this as standard reality show fare: tasty but, ultimately, so light that it's not filling. And in many ways, it is low-cal -- think American Idol without the Simon Cowell-designed pressure chamber. But here's the surprise: The show is, surprisingly, very earnest. Watch the competitors sing a capella, perfecting every note. See them practice their dance moves patiently. Witness them cry when they think they've failed -- and be jubilant when they realize they've performed flawlessly.
For a show that's supposedly competitive, these wannabes seem like, well, pussycats. There's snippiness, but few catfights -- hardly any claws are bared. (The show might actually benefit if it had more of an edge. Then it wouldn't seem so much like sorority rush set to music.) Bottom line? Pussycat Dolls Present isn't groundbreaking, but it's passable. At times it's even interesting. Much like the Pussycat Dolls' music, it manages to please despite how trampy it seems. Still, to borrow from the Pussycats themselves, you're left wishing the show was hot like them. Unfortunately, it's just tepid.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lure of stardom and how people break into show business. Is it all just in the timing? Or does hard work truly pay off? Do talent and determination place second behind having "the right look" in the overall scheme of things? In Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll / Girlicious?
How is this series similar to and different from shows like American Idol?