TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Showville TV Poster Image
Watch-together reality spotlights small-town talent.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

All of the performers are treated with respect, and their aspirations similarly respected. Achievements are celebrated instead of mocked and there's a general atmosphere of support.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lisette and Alec are very supportive and thoughtful mentors who offer contestants real and useful advice that is generally accepted with grace. Contestants clap for each other and generally look like they're having a great time.


Some acts have a bit of a violent edge, like a magic act with swords. Or they may have a gross-out factor, as when one performer puts a cockroach in his mouth.


Some acts may be a bit racy, like the one in which a woman does a sword act that involves chopping up a cucumber suggestively. Mapa occasionally busts out a double entendre: "The last time I was with a man with this much leather, alcohol was involved," he quips.


The occasional curse word, usually used jokingly: "I used to kick my own ass," says Mapa at one point.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol may occasionally be mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Showville is a sweet reality series with talent shows set in various small towns that are mostly appropriate for all ages. Some acts may have a slightly violent or sexual edge, for example, a magic act in which a woman in a bustier wields a whip and chops up a cucumber suggestively. Expect the occasional gross-out act, like when one man puts a cockroach in his mouth, plus occasional strong language said in jest. Otherwise, contestants are generally supportive of and respectful toward each others, and mentors are genuinely helpful to mentees, offering sound advice about their acts without mockery. This could be a great watch-together show, thought younger kids might get a bit bored by the offstage moments and talking-head interviews.

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What's the story?

Millions of people out there have talent and are just aching to show it. SHOWVILLE gives them their shot, each week visiting a new small town to hold auditions for a talent show to be held at the end of a week. Four acts are selected; mentors Alec Mapa and Lisette Bustamente work with them to polish their presentation, and by week's end the gang's ready to put on a show. Audience members vote on the best act, which wins $10,000 and eternal bragging rights.

Is it any good?

Little-town talent shows filled with hopeful local performers seems ripe for mockery, the way we've seen done so many times, in movies like Waiting for Guffman or television like The Gong Show. But the genius of Showville is that instead of laughing at its cast of starry-eyed small-towners, it treats them with affection and respect. Instead of mocking their magicians, singers, musicians and the like, mentors/judges Alec Mapa and Lisette Bustamente offer them solid advice on showmanship and whisper to each other how much they love the acts and the performers.

The stakes are small: performing in a local talent show, winning enough money to take one really good trip, not change a life. The contestants' expectations are correspondingly modest: "This will give us the validation that other people think we're pretty darn good," says a man who plays the Irish penny whistle (beautifully!) with his wife. "When they see me, they're going to say 'I like that guy!'" says another performer. And we do. And Showville too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about other talent shows on TV. Watch a similar show, such as America's Got Talent. How is it like Showville? How are the two shows different?

  • How is the audience supposed to feel about contestants? Are we supposed to like them? Laugh at them? Feel something else? What about the way they are presented gives you this idea?

  • How does a show like Showville compare to American Idol? What do the producers promise to contestants on Showville vs. Idol? What are the contestants hoping the show will do for them?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reality shows

Themes & Topics

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