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 even though this reality series has a few strikes against it in terms of content, its infractions are mild, and its message is overwhelmingly positive -- especially for young girls. Due largely to Salt's influence, the erstwhile rappers take a look at their older, more sexually charged lyrics and videos and reinvent themselves as ladies with class (and considerable sass) without resorting to loud gimmicks. Salt also candidly discusses her struggles with bulimia during the group's heyday, which may help parents talk to kids about eating disorders and body-image issues.
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What's the story?
After officially disbanding in 2002, Cheryl "Salt" James Wray and Sandra "Pepa" Denton -- the Grammy-winning hip-hop duo formerly known as Salt-N-Pepa -- decided to go their separate ways. Salt shunned the music business, became religious, and had children, while Pepa stayed pretty much the same (even joining the cast of The Surreal Life in 2005). But now they're testing the waters for a comeback with a refreshingly real, surprisingly positive reality series. Much like an extended episode of Bands Reunited (the now-canceled VH1 show that sought to get popular musical acts back together after notoriously bad breakups), THE SALT-N-PEPA SHOW follows these groundbreaking rappers on their rocky journey back to a tentative friendship and, ultimately, a working relationship that would put them back in the public eye.
Is it any good?
One of the most interesting aspects of the show is Salt's ongoing struggle to clean up Salt-N-Pepa's act by toning down some of the sexually suggestive lyrics and choreography that had largely defined the group. As a Christian and a mother of two, she no longer feels comfortable performing songs like "Push It" and grinding on muscular male dancers. But a bewildered Pepa can't understand what's so bad about a little onstage lap-dancing. Normally, a show's producers might try to exploit that kind of conflict for comedic effect. But The Salt-N-Pepa Show takes a more responsible approach, giving each lady the chance to say her piece. The revelations that emerge lead to frank discussions about body image, sexuality, and being a woman in the music business -- which might just make teens think twice about the gyrating female pop stars they idolize.
Unlike other reality fare, which tends to be frenzied at best, The Salt-N-Pepa Show moves at a pace that's noteworthy for its normalcy. It doesn't try to be sexy; it simply tells the story of two former friends who are trying to make amends. It also offers an honest look at the complexities of the music business and how its pressures can erode even the strongest of friendships.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the music industry's trend for female artists to market themselves as "sexy." Is there a double standard for men? Does sex sell a song better than good lyrics or a catchy hook? Why or why not? Which female artists do you admire most, and why do you look up to them? Would you still like their music if they dressed and danced more demurely or delivered songs with less-shocking lyrics? Why or why not?
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