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 this holiday special from Nick Cannon’s protégé teen pop group is heavy on iffy messages for its intended tween audience. The stars have more attitude than holiday cheer, and everything from their clothing style (tight shirts and very short skirts) to their body language will give parents reason to have their own girls avoid it. The special caters to strategically placed breakout song-and-dance numbers, and the girls don’t miss a beat in putting some sexy undertones to the lyrics and their dance styles.
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What's the story?
A VERY SCHOOL GYRLS HOLLA-DAY begins with elderly incarnations of Mandy (Mandy Moseley), Mo’ Money (Monica Parales), and Jackee (Jacque Pyles) recounting a tale of one of their first holidays together as teens, when a last-minute Christmas Eve shopping trip turned into an accidental overnighter at the mall. Locked in for the night with rivals Shadizzle (Shade Austin) and Fiyah (Lauren Brianna Chavez), the girls stumble upon two incompetent thieves with their sights set on a jewelry store’s treasures. With the mall cop (Nick Cannon) out of commission, it’s up to the quintet to set aside their differences and foil the criminals’ plans.
Is it any good?
Let’s be clear: This special's plot is less about driving a story and more about filling the gaps between the singers’ musical segments. The girls’ teen queen attitudes are in full swing, and it’s a sure bet that parents won’t want their daughters mimicking the stars’ behavior or body language (eye rolling, hair flipping -- you get the picture). There's a likable subplot surrounding the girls’ developing friendship, but there’s a lot of muck to muddle through to find even that positive message.
The real star of the show is the music itself, and the quintet (the original three band members are joined by Austin and Chavez) is undeniably talented. Unfortunately, though, they don’t let their skills simply speak for themselves, instead sexing up the lyrics (their rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas" is about falling in love and "kissing under the mistletoe," for instance) and video too much for their young audience. Bottom line? There are so many options for wholesome holiday entertainment that there’s no reason to subject your kids to the negative messages here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the special's messages. What was its purpose? Do you think it was geared toward advertising the group’s music, or did it really entertain? What did its content imply about adults?
Tweens: Do you like this group’s music? Had you heard of them before you saw it? How does seeing them in action change your impression of the girls? Do you think they’re anything like their characters in real life? Why or why not?
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Are there special movies you watch, music you listen to, or pastimes you enjoy as a family? How are your traditions shaped by your family’s culture, ethnicity, or religion?
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