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 most of this game show's "problem" areas are pretty mild -- for example, one of the audition tunes is "Like a Virgin," but none of the more explicit lyrics are used. Other songs reference drinking, and the participating companies (1-800-Dentist and JetBlue, for instance) are mentioned by name, which sort of falls into the "product placement" category. But overall this is a fun, family-friendly show that's fine for tweens and up.
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What's the story?
Operating under the assumption that in every workplace there are at least a couple of folks who whistle their way through the day, each episode of THE SINGING OFFICE sends hosts Joey Fatone and Mel B. to two different companies, from national operations like 1-800-Dentist and JetBlue to local L.A. workplaces like Allen Edwards Salon and the L.A. Zoo. There each selects a team of five people who have to pull together a song and dance routine; the two teams then go head to head in a competition. Ultimately, the winning teams of each matchup will compete in an eight-way finale.
Is it any good?
With so many competition/game shows out there these days, comparisons are inevitable. Some viewers might feel like The Singing Office falls pretty low on the scale simply because the talent level is uneven at best. But the show actually seems more positive than some of its fellow talent-competition brethren, and it's oddly charming in its own way. It helps that the participants aren't in it for fame and fortune -- the grand prize is $50,000, shared among the five winning team members -- so it's more about having fun and letting loose.
The other thing that's really good about the show is the singers' very ordinariness. Some are definitely talented, but these folks aren't buffed-out beauties -- nor are all of them great singers. But none of that stops them from trying, and that's really the lesson in the whole exercise. Too often folks get intimidated because they don't sound or look like professionals, robbing themselves of the joy of singing and dancing for the sheer joy of it. Maybe shows like this can get ordinary folks out there singing on their own again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why companies would want their employees to participate in this show. Do you think they see it as a way to advertise/promote their business? Do you think they're right -- i.e., do you feel like hearing the companies' names multiple times per episode makes you remember them more? Or does it end up just being "background noise"? Also, would you want to participate in a contest like this? Why or why not? How do you think your family would do if it was families competing instead of companies?