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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 sex-drenched drama isn't appropriate for kids. Young adults are seen lounging in skimpy bathing suits, characters talk graphically about sex, people reveal guns to threaten and shoot at each other, crime is portrayed as glamorous, and very poor relationships are modeled between parents and adult sons.
What's the story?
The glitzy, sun-kissed world of SOUTH BEACH is an escape into a world of sex, crime, and money. Characters are young and beautiful, each pursuing their own dreams, which include modeling, hotel management, building a college savings, and climbing the ladder of a crime family. The pilot starts in Brooklyn when Matt learns that his father has gambled away the savings Matt has saved for college, so he jumps into the car of his shifty friend Vincent, who is on his way to South Beach. That night they stumble onto Matt's former girlfriend, Arielle, who left New York to pursue modeling in South Beach. She has now taken up with Alex, who manages a hot nightclub in a swanky beach resort owned by his mother Elizabeth, played by Vanessa Williams.
Is it any good?
In the show's favor, the producers have captured the color and richness of the Latin community in south Florida. Many of the main characters are bilingual and use their knowledge of Spanish to get them out of sticky situations. Also, characters of color are both heroes/heroines, which provides a refreshing change from Hollywood's usual portrayal of Latino characters as villains.
Still, South Beach is about two things -- sex and money. It's not appropriate for kids. And with its predictable storylines and lack of character development, it's a waste of time for mature viewers, as well.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way men and women are depicted in this show -- women prance around in bathing suits while men fight each other. Why does the program have to rely on tired stereotypes in order to get attention? They can discuss Jennifer Lopez's association with the show -- would it have made it to the air without having her name attached to it? Does the show present a positive view of Latin culture? What makes a program a "guilty pleasure"?