This reality TV series from Bravo follows around struggling child performers of all stripes (actors, singers, beauty pageant princesses), but focuses on the parents, largely looking at the ... See full summary »




2005   2004  


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This reality TV series from Bravo follows around struggling child performers of all stripes (actors, singers, beauty pageant princesses), but focuses on the parents, largely looking at the different ways the parents fit the sterotype of the pushy "Stage Mother" or "Showbiz Mom". Written by Michelle

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How far will stage moms go to make their children into stars, and how steep is the price of success?





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13 April 2004 (USA)  »

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A show about parents who have no right to be parents
20 November 2006 | by See all my reviews

'Showbiz Moms and Dads' is meant to be a reality show following five families' dreams to carve a successful entertainment career for their children but it just came across as a programme about sad, pathetic parents and their poor, poor children.

Eight-year-old Jordan Mosley-Stephens and her mother Kimberly seem to be the only normal family in the show. Jordan is a likable little girl whose feet are kept firmly on the ground by a mother who puts education and manners before air-headed ideas of acting fame. She is also the only one with real talent in the entire programme, reflected by the fact she is also the only one to be offered any decent work.

Family number two are Shane Klingen-Smith, aged thirteen, and his mother Debbie. There is apparently a father and brother in the picture but you'd never know since the mother's life revolves almost obsessively around her son, which is just odd when you consider he is at an age where he should have outside friends. Between his mother and background dancers, Shane doesn't seem to have any male influence in his life at all. This boy is aspiring to be a boy band singer but although he is a cute, if almost feminine, child, he sadly lacks any real talent. In many ways, you wonder if he's being forced on by Debbie feeding his ego and discreetly pushing him since we have a boy here who is actually being sick due to the stress. Surely his parents should be questioning if that is any sort of life for a thirteen-year-old.

Next up are poor little Emily Tye, just four years old, and her domineering mother Debbie (it must be something about the name!). Emily is a beauty pageant contender and this series just highlights why these contests are just legalised child abuse. In one scene, we have this toddler-- a baby, really-- being spray-tanned while she bitterly cries because she is tired and just wants to go home. Her mother, however, thinks Emily just needs to grow up. The only people who need to grow up are the parents who should have bought dolls instead of having children if they felt like playing dress-up. Emily has a nine-year-old brother who is just shoved in the background and he's as much a victim in this whole sorry situation as his sister. Of course, Debbie isn't the only one who needs to re-examine herself. When Emily enters a contest, we see the jealous, childish parents of her fellow young candidates telling their children to shun her because they are in a snit over her 'unfair advantage' of the cameras. Imagine adults actually encouraging their kids to ignore a four-year-old; it would be very sad if it wasn't so disgusting.

Thirteen-year-old Jordan Barron, budding actress, and her mother Tiffany are an interesting case. Jordan comes across as a self-absorbed brat with an attitude problem which weak-willed Tiffany refuses to sort out. The girl isn't anything special in terms of talent and what abilities she does have are ruined by the fact she is incapable of reeling in her cheek. However, I felt there was much going on under the surface that viewers weren't aware of because, to me, Jordan seemed depressed and more angry at her mother than what you'd expect from normal teenage rebellion.

And last but certainly not least, we have the egotistical, arrogant David Nutter and his sad family of a wife and seven children, aged between eight and eighteen. He uprooted his family from their happy country home to New York because he wanted to act and this is one man who certainly suits his surname because he really is a nutter if he can't see how much his wife and elder children resent him for it. I'm amazed his wife hasn't left this selfish man and taken the children away years ago.

'Showbiz Moms and Dads' offers an insight into a world that clearly does need regulating to ensure the children's needs are being met and they aren't being forced into fame by selfish parents. It's a rather sad show in that you can't help but wonder how some of these kids will feel when they are twenty or thirty and look back upon their lost childhoods.

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