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 the show includes some fairly strong language (the worst is bleeped out) and obvious commercialism. But sexual content is limited to flirting and kissing, and Ashlee's age (she's 19) and the consistent presence of her parents means virtually no drugs or alcohol.
What's the story?
THE ASHLEE SIMPSON SHOW has followed Jessica's younger sister, Ashlee, as she worked on her own CD, dealt with its success, and how she's dealing with her own rising fame. Along with all of this, Ashlee's personal life is chronicled, from learning how to live on her own, to trying to develop a relationship, to learning how to do her own laundry and cleaning.
Is it any good?
You have to give Ashlee Simpson some credit. Even though she is trapped in a shallow showbiz world, she manages to stick to her guns on things she finds important. She wants to be in control of her image, and she fights for her right to carve her own niche. She is also a very creative young woman. Her songs seem to come from a part of herself that has some depth -- in this way she is more than a product of the media machine; she is an artist.
On the other hand, so many minutes of this show are wasted showing Ashlee do inane things like drive places in her car, ride in the elevator, eat junk food and have stupid conversations. The episodes that concentrate on her artistic process are more exciting than the ones that show how unprepared for real life she actually is. "I've never washed lettuce before," she tells a friend while they prepare tacos one night. "I've never mopped the floor." Hang on -- she's 19! Who's been doing all of this for her? Her mother and father step in all of the time with the patience of saints, teaching her little quiet lessons about housekeeping and everyday nuances, but where were they before they set her loose in her own apartment? These gaps in reality make this reality show interesting, at least from a psychological standpoint. In the end, Ashlee Simpson does what most artists do -- she makes art out of what she's been given. In this case, what she's been given is a license to drive in the superficial world of pop semi-stardom.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Ashlee's non-realistic reality. Here's someone who was raised by parent-managers who have brought their daughters to the center stage at a young age. How realistic is having a camera running throughout the day, filming everyone in the family? How can Ashlee cope with her sister's fame and her own image issues? What happens if she fails?