A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Viewers get to witness some of the special effects (make-up, prosthetics, hair, costumes) that transform the celebrity into the substitute for the day.
The show's laughs come at the expense of a willing participant who's putting on an exaggerated show for the unsuspecting kids in class. Because the viewing audience is in on the gag, there's no regret in enjoying the hilarity unfold. In some cases, the actor's scam is so good that some kids worry briefly about the poser's overall safety.
Positive Role Models
The celebrities involved put themselves in somewhat embarrassing situations for the audience's amusement. Because they're active participants in the ruse, the experience can help remind kids of the difference between laughing at someone and laughing with him or her, as well as illustrate the importance of treating newcomers with kindness.
Violence & Scariness
No violence, but some pranks involve the celebrities' physical mishaps like tripping and falling or running into obstacles.
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Products & Purchases
As an introduction to the celebrity's work, the show incorporates photos and video clips from movies, TV series, and other projects that launched that person's career.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Substitute is a show that lets celebrities like Jace Norman pose as incompetent, offbeat substitute teachers to prank classrooms full of students. Viewers watch as special effects experts transform the stars using prosthetics, makeup, and wigs, leaving little hint of their true identity. As the subs stumble their way through teaching lessons, physical accidents and other mishaps lead to reactions of both laughter and uncertainty from the students -- all of which is intended for the audience's enjoyment. Even so, this show helps illustrate the difference between laughing at someone's expense and laughing with the person, as well as the importance of treating newcomers with kindness.
Is It Any Good?
This series plays out much like you'd expect: The substitutes put on a show of incompetence and daftness that inspires incredulousness and a lot of hilarity in the classrooms. There are quirky habits, physical blunders with messy results, and curriculum content that's suspicious at best. With expert special effects people on the job, the transformations are impressive enough to give the unsuspecting students little reason to think anything's up, which makes the big reveals a lot of fun.
Shows like The Substitute are designed to get laughs at the expense of two groups: While the students can't help poking fun at the prankster, they're ultimately the real brunt of the bigger joke. Because it's all in good fun and ends with the thrill of the kids getting to meet the celebrity, it's a feel-good show that can inspire conversations about bullying and the difference between laughing with people and laughing at them.
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.