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 TV incarnation of the iconic board game Scrabble makes unscrambling and building words high entertainment for families, and both kids and adults will have fun playing along. There are feel-good messages in the show's presentation of competition and in the way the games encourage cooperation and teamwork. Overt product placement exists with regard to both the Scrabble moniker and sponsors like Casio and Insignia, but none of this interferes with this worthwhile show that's great for grade-schoolers and up.
What's the story?
Hosted by Justin Willman, SCRABBLE SHOWDOWN is based on the classic Hasbro board game and challenges players to a series of word-related games. In each episode, two teams -- each consisting of an adult and a teen -- face off over a virtual Scrabble board in four rounds that test their ability to unscramble and build words. The team with the most points at the end of each round wins a prize, with the grand prize awarded to the winners of the final Scrabble Lightning round.
Is it any good?
There are few surprises in this fast-paced game show that has players racing the clock to create and identify words, although it's impressive that the show manages to make the process so entertaining. Scrabble enthusiasts will like the clever ways in which the show incorporates many aspects of the game, including higher point values for challenging letters and the double- and triple-word squares on the board.
It's always fun to see parents and their kids joining forces and working as a team, and there are good lessons to be found in the players' ever-positive on-screen demeanor. Because they won't be able to play along, early readers won't enjoy the show quite as much as kids who can spell on demand, but it's still a fun and worry-free way to spend some TV time with the whole family.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about playing fair. Do all of the players in this show have an equal chance of winning? Does a person's age affect his or her ability to win the games? What does sportsmanship mean? Have you ever known someone who wasn't a good sport?
Kids: What brand names did you notice in this game show? Does seeing items like a keyboard or a new TV influence what you want? Have you noticed similar instances of product placement in other TV shows or movies?
What are some of your family's favorite games to play? Are you able to include the whole family in them? How does playing games teach you things like teamwork, strategy, and perseverance? How do these lessons translate into real life?
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