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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 reality series is a showcase for the athletic talents -- and supersized ego -- of basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. In every episode, Shaq challenges other legendary athletes to compete in their own sports, with mixed results. There’s plenty of good-natured trash talking in the build-up to the main event, but not much swearing. Nor is there any drinking, smoking, or other really iffy behavior. The only thing parents might want to be wary of is that impressionable kids might want to copy Shaq’s appealing -- but very self-centered -- personality. He and his fellow athletes have earned the right to brag about their talents, but few young viewers can make the same claims.
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What's the story?
Shaquille O’Neal first made his name on the basketball court -- but in SHAQ VS., he tries to prove that he’s just as talented at other sports by taking on some of the best athletes in the world. He goes into the pool with Michael Phelps, plays baseball against Albert Pujols, steps into the ring with boxer Oscar De La Hoya, and even leads a football team against Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Shaq's goal, of course, is to prove that he's the greatest, most amazing, most incredible athlete -- no matter what. He’s certainly got the ego, but can his body back up his grand claims?
Is it any good?
Let’s face it -- Shaq may be a basketball legend, but at 37, he’s on the downside of his sporting career. Trying to take on other star athletes, some of whom are at the peak of their game, isn’t really a winning proposition. And the competitions aren’t exactly regulation, either: The rules are tweaked to give Shaq an advantage. For example, when he challenges Roethlisberger, it's in touch football with no rushing the quarterback -- giving him tons of time to make the play. And Shaq has to score from just the 20-yard-line, while Roethlisberger has to take it in from the 40. It’s not really that exciting to watch.
Each episode builds to the main event, but the earlier parts are more fun. When Shaq and his competitors hang out together, there’s some good-natured trash-talking and plenty of banter that shows off Shaq’s winning personality. Seeing Shaq and the other athletes acting like regular people -- albeit people with amazing abilities -- is much more interesting than watching them participate in a contrived competition.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about attitude. Shaq's outsize personality has become his trademark. Do you think his self-centered attitude is fun or over the top? Could regular people get away with a similar attitude, or would it offend others?
Is Shaq a good role model?
Shaq seems confident he can hold his own against his rivals, but sometimes he's given an advantage. Are the contests fair? Or do the simplified events lack some of the excitement of the real thing?