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The Gong Show with Dave Attell
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 nothing is sacred in this late-night hybrid that's equal parts talent competition and three-ring circus. On any given episode you might see wrestling midgets who beat each other over the head with metal trays, magicians who pull bloody rabbits out of their stomachs with a knife, or a man dressed as a monkey doing impressive acrobatics with a scantily clad jungle girl who removes her bra. Sexual content is pretty explicit for basic cable (one of the judges French kisses a model during the closing credits), and the language (including the frequent-but-bleeped use of "f--k") truly pushes the envelope.
What's the story?
In THE GONG SHOW WITH DAVE ATTELL, stand-up comedian Dave Attell (best known for his series Insomniac with Dave Attell) hosts a raucous, raunchy remake of The Gong Show, a classic 1970s variety series that showcased amateur performers and antics from a rotating slate of celebrity judges. Attell's version scores contestants on a scale of 0 to 500. But if acts are truly bad, judges can grab a mallet and bang a large gong, taking contestants out of the running for the top prize: a glittering Gong Show prize belt, some cash ($600), and, often, fun extras -- like a back rub from outlandish judge Andy Dick.
Is it any good?
With its over-the-top acts and envelope-pushing sexual content and language, The Gong Show isn't for kids, including older teens. Frankly, a few of the acts are so graphic that they'd probably gross out most grown-ups. (Imagine Andy Dick chewing on a blood-soaked stuffed rabbit, and you'll begin to understand what we mean.)
As for whether this remake is worth watching for anyone, well ... it's bound to be an acquired taste. While a few talented contestants are mixed into the line-up, most have obviously been selected for their shock value -- like a rock band that sings a lewd song about lollipops, complete with dancing girls who seductively lick said lollipops during the performance. Sure, there are laughs to be had. But since it's unlikely you'll see any feats that will truly blow your socks off, you won't be missing much if you skip it altogether.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fine line between exploiting yourself and sharing your talents with the rest of the world. How does this show compare to other TV talent competitions? What criteria do you think the producers use to screen contestants? Who do you think the target audience is? And do you think this show truly takes itself seriously? Parents who remember watching the classic 1970s variety show that this remake is based on can also share their memories of the original, noting which elements have been updated for today's audience.