Keeping Young Hollywood Real

With two working parents in American families almost a must in this terrible economy, travel and family outings are the first things cut out of the household entertainment budget. What do we have left to fill our leisure time with? Television and movies – we all still depend on Hollywood to keep us entertained and dreaming – at least for now.

Those of us living on the fringe of Hollywood (we listen to The Sleez, watch TMZ and ET and feel connected) assume that what we're shown by the media is true, and for vigilant parents keeping it real at home is a daunting task. Enter young Hollywood – or Disneywood, or Hollyland, whatever you want to call it. The A-list young celebs are everywhere (and on everything), making it difficult to ignore them and the influence they have on our family and, ready for this, our values.

Hollywood and values? Is this an oxymoron? Probably, but like it or not, this is our Holly-reality. My kids’ clock-radios go off at 6 am, when their favorite radio station (Clear Channel-owned), provides them with their initial dose of celebrity gossip. Taylor Swift is mad that Joe Jonas broke – up with her over the cell-phone; the Jonas Brothers are still wearing purity rings, and, oh no! That naughty Miley Cyrus is at it again! She got a ticket for riding a bike without a helmet. Yes, decidedly essential information for teeny boppers.

Out here on the fringe, a mother of two living in the southern most part of the left coast has to battle “La La Locura” too. Magazines, TV, radio and the Cineplex are monopolized with the same images of unattainable, unaffordable, unrealistic, unimaginably void lifestyles of the young and famous. What strikes me as odd is the apparent absence of guidance and values these fabricated teen role models seem to cruise through life without. Why don’t they have to go to school? Why do they go shopping everyday? Don’t they have to adhere to the same academic and social standards as the rest of us?

By the way, where are their parents?

Listen up, Hollywood! Please, encourage more clips showing the realistic side of life on Hollywood and Vine. Instead of showing us how 15 year olds jet-off to the Bahamas on a whim, can’t you find the material to show them arriving at church, school, the local Y or maybe doing community service somewhere? And, no, attending a charity ball or televised event doesn’t count as reality, definitely not when a stylist, make-up artist and agent were involved. I don’t want to think things like studying and community service don’t happen, so spare me the truth. Make it up, fabricate it (a la Jessica Simpson – didn’t she recently lose 10 pounds in one day?), but improve the content of TV offerings this year. You will have more of our attention than before, so give us more quality at the expense of quantity.

We don’t believe in limiting TV time or hovering over the kids to approve each show they want to watch. Instead, the way we’ve managed to reach a happy modus vivendi is to observe the old stand by, “If you can’t beat them join them”, with limits, of course. But, it’s exhausting to combat the talks about weight, fashion and teen obsessions a 13 year old thinks are normal because it’s what’s on TV and movies. Please, help me out here!