Viva Hollywood!

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Viva Hollywood! TV Poster Image
Ay, dios mio! Reality show big on sex, violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Some contestants behave in iffier ways than others. But, in general, this isn't the place to go shopping for positive role models. On the plus side, the wannabe soap stars do come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including Mexican, Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban.

Violence

Contestants regularly abuse each other on camera in professionally choreographed fight scenes that include slapping, punching, hair-pulling, and breakaway glass. They also push each other into furniture and throw drinks in each other's faces. The cherry on this sundae of ham-handed violence? Contestants aren't just eliminated ... they're "killed" off.

Sex

Lots of shirtless men and scantily clad women (the back of a hostess' dress is so sheer you can actually make out her buttocks). One contestant admits he had his first sexual experience with a woman at age 9. In typical telenovela fashion, male and female characters are also shown seducing each other and, sometimes, making out.

Language

Terms like "whore" and "bitch" are used as weapons in verbal attacks. Stronger words (like "f--k") are bleeped.

Consumerism

The Telemundo network is prominently featured, as are many of its Latino stars.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The mansion has a fully stocked bar, and contestants are shown doing shots and drinking to drunkenness. They're all of age.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality competition series features adult competitors who are willing to do anything -- including punching, slapping, and swearing at each other -- as long as it's part of a telenovela scene that could potentially make them famous. Sex is also a big part of the subject matter when it comes the situations these wannabe actors are asked to portray on camera. And since all of these attractive men and women are packed into a Hollywood mansion that contains an open bar and a hot tub, the stage is essentially set for several weeks of drunken debauchery.

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What's the story?

In VIVA HOLLYWOOD!, 12 bilingual actors and actresses are packed into a Hollywood mansion to compete for a $100,000 prize and the chance to be cast in a \"career-making role\" in a Telemundo telenovela. As part of the competition, they're put through their paces in a series of acting challenges designed to test their mastery of the \"Seven Deadly Sins of Telenovelas\": passion, lust, charisma, drama, fire, seduction, and scandal. Each week, the bottom two contestants are chosen to act in a fight-to-the-death scene in which one of them is \"killed off\" -- i.e., kicked off the show.

Is it any good?

The producers of this reality show knew what they were doing when they decided to dub the contestants' mansion "La Casa de los Locos" (that's "The House of the Crazies," for all you non-Spanish speaking folk) -- because that's basically what viewers are getting. While Viva Hollywood! does provide an eye-opening look at the world of telenovelas and give big-name Latino stars some well-deserved crossover exposure, the series seems more or less designed to be high on camp and low on meaningful content.

Teens who watch aren't likely to walk away with any important life lessons, but they'll undoubtedly learn that it looks cool to hit somebody over the head with a bottle made of breakaway glass. And that's definitely something to consider.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the differences between Spanish-language telenovelas and American soap operas. How do the content, characters, and storylines compare? Are telenovelas steamier than English-language soaps? Are they any more or less violent? Are women portrayed any differently? What about men? Parents might also want to stress that most telenovelas are meant to be taken as escapist entertainment, not as a model of how people should act in everyday life.

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