A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The humor can be a bit mean-spirited at times (performers the judges don't like are dismissed by the hitting of a giant gong, after all), but in general even some of the most bizarre acts are praised for their originality.
Positive Role Models
A lot of the contestants show perseverance and self-confidence. Whether that's a good or bad thing is debatable.
Violence & Scariness
Younger kids may be creeped out by some of the performers, such as the growling, ukulele-playing man in skull face paint who sings about kidnapping and eating children.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nothing super explicit, but the host frequently makes suggestive comments and jokes -- for example, "It's not the size of the pianist, it's how you play his instrument."
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"Damn," "hell," nothing extreme.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The judges are given cigars during one act; the host's bottle of booze is sometimes visible.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Gong Show is a revamped version of the 1970s variety show competition of the same name. Like its predecessor, the acts vary wildly in quality and include performers of all kinds: singers, dancers, magicians, jump-ropers, and speed-talkers, to name only a few. The focus is definitely on the offbeat and bizarre. There's a lot of sexual innuendo -- references to S&M and testicles abound -- and there are some mentions of drugs and alcohol, as when the host refers to himself as being "high." Some acts could be a bit spooky for younger or squeamish kids, like the girl who plays harmonica while holding a live tarantula inside her mouth.
Is It Any Good?
If your favorite part of the old American Idol series was the early audition episodes where the judges make fun of the delusional, questionably-talented hopefuls, this show may be right up your alley. The primary function of these acts isn't that they're marketable (or even palatable), it's that they're memorably weird. The Gong Show isn't where you'll see a sincere young girl strumming an acoustic guitar and belting out a self-penned ballad to an appreciative audience. This is, however, one of the only places you are likely to see a married couple who have developed an entire acrobatic act centered on spitting chewed-up bananas into each other's mouths.
Whether or not you dig the show's schtick is dependent upon your tolerance level for lowbrow humor and cheesy performances. Wacky is the name of the game, right down to the choice of host: comedic actor Mike Myers (Austin Powers, Shrek), who appears uncredited in the guise of British comedy star "Tommy Maitland," whose ribald sense of humor and manic energy are downright Benny Hill-esque. We've seen Myers do this type of thing before -- calling people "cheeky monkeys" is his go-to -- but it's oddly fitting for this zany throwback of a show. The overall ridiculousness wears thin at times, but viewers looking to see something different will definitely hit pay dirt.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.