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Published on August 29th, 2011 | by Yellow Magpie

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Babes In Hollywood TV Review: The Exploitation Of Children’s Dreams

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Babes In Hollywood is one of the strangest television experiences you are likely to encounter. To say that the Hollywood child ‘star’ industry is odd is a serious understatement. This documentary shows an industry that is almost exclusively based on deception and false promises.

The Channel Four documentary follows several children and their parents who have pretensions about making it big in Hollywood. This is a world in which nothing is as it appears and everyone has agendas. Pushy parents leave husbands, wives and children behind in search of the dream of their son or daughter becoming a famous actor.

‘The viewer is treated to mild amusement by the scope of the self-deception of the majority of the ‘talent’ and those surrounding them.’

Bordering on child abuse, these children spend most of their time away from their friends and family cooked up inside going to audition after audition. Their only respite seems to be attending quacks that promise the Moon and the stars but ultimately deliver little.

One of the most revealing things about the documentary is just how much industry is dependent upon the self-perpetuating endless conveyor belt of children and parents who believe that they will become the next Leonardo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet. The viewer is treated to mild amusement by the scope of the self-deception of the majority of the ‘talent’ and those surrounding them.

‘No one gives honest feedback because if they did there would be serious threat that the industry would fall apart overnight.’

It is quite clear that no one has ever sat either the parents or the kids themselves down and explained to them that their talents lie elsewhere. It quickly becomes apparent why there is such a lack of honesty in this profession. No one gives honest feedback because if they did there would be serious threat that the industry would fall apart overnight.

From the actor’s agents themselves to the so-called performance coaches, the casting agents, the photographers and the booking agents, every one of these professions has a lot to lose if they were forthright with those they are supposed to be representing. One casting agent even states on camera that they never tell those that auditioned the truth about their performance.

The fact of the matter is that out of the hundreds of thousands of people who audition only a tiny fraction are suitable for certain roles while only a few handful are talented.

‘The sad reality is that the vast majority of famous actors are disposable.’

Even most of those who hit the big time while they are young are likely to disappear just as quickly. The difference between a child and adult actor is the same as night and day. In such a cut-throat industry only the truly unique and talented survive. The sad reality is that the vast majority of famous actors are disposable. Worldwide, only a handful of people have a strong enough presence to become respected icons.

The parents in Babes In Hollywood are a curious mix. Clearly many are trying to live vicariously through their children. Others have obvious psychological issues. All of this begs the question how many parents would be willing to sacrifice the childhood of their children in the vain quest for fame and immortality? The answer is probably not too many.

One of the most poignant aspects of the film is the self-delusion of the nearly-beens. These are people who briefly achieved mild fame by being in low-profile films that no one has heard of. One particular unknown actress gushed about what it was like to be famous. The delusion was palpable as she babbled on about the marvels of being in a film that probably only those that were in it are aware of.

‘No amount of lessons and techniques will transform a bad actor into a good actor.’

Babes In Hollywood is a lesson in how not to raise your children. The fact that human beings are so impressionable means that you would fear for the future of these children and how they will raise the next generation. We wonder if we will find the adult versions of these children carrying out the exact patterns as their parents before them did. Will they have their children attending acting classes and pursuing their failed dreams?

Acting is a profession that requires genuine talent. No amount of lessons and techniques will transform a bad actor into a good actor. You either have the raw talent or you don’t. Perhaps all of this could be avoided if they were told this from the start.

The apathy of this industry reached its nadir when the viewers were shown what casting agents really thought of children. The sight of an agent laughing about the ‘no titties rule’ while looking through the reels of young girls was nauseating. The ultimate achievement of Babes in Hollywood is that it completely lays bare Hollywood’s true nature when it comes to the exploitation of children.


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