A&E Will Make You BEYOND SCARED STRAIGHT On DemandSeptember 23, 2011
Every Thursday, media savant T Tara Turk goes deep inside cable TV to reveal Video On Demand's Hidden Gems so even the busiest of our readers can get the most out of On Demand TV. Tell Tara what VOD shows you think deserves her attention.
Beyound Scared Straight (VOD Hidden Gem)
Normally I have witty biting things to say about some of the shows that are on but this show, A&E "Beyond Scared Straight" is serious business in these times. We now live in a world where NYC Mayor Bloomberg pledges his own millions for programs to keep kids out of prison, where former Governors are carrying the load of putting possibly innocent prisoners to death over shaky evidence and a myriad of other red flags that something is going on with crime and punishment in this country.
"Beyond Scared Straight" seems to want to address that problem. The episode I watched was close to home as it was shot in Oakland County, Michigan, near where I grew up and, yes, near the infamous 8 Mile.. Like the Eminem song andmovie, life isn’t easy on those streets and sometimes not even parents who care (because they are some that don’t) can contain the raging youthful rebellion that can be so dangerous.
The premise is that local police take youths who have demonstrated behavior that would put them on the path towards making prison their career. This includes gang activities, robbery and drugs. They take them through what it’s like to get arrested, booked and put in jail. They put them in a room with prisoners who have no qualms about telling them prison is not a fun TV show where you go home afterwards, not a place for family reunions and not a place if you want a future of success.
Brandon brings the street to the jail and challenges everyone from inmates to deputies which makes me worried for him because nothing seems to penetrate the exterior shell he’s built up around himself. His mother’s desperate concern isn’t enough to crack through. He’s the one I worried about the most. No amount of the taste of the hard knock life that prison gives you seems to have any effect on Brandon’s desperate need to be harder than hard.
Inspired by the Academy Award winning documentary by Arnold Shapiro (eat your documentaries, boys and girls! They are good for you!), this hopefully will have teens shy away from the activity that seems like no big deal when you’re a kid. Fear and immaturity makes us believe that we don’t care and can endure whatever but as a youth offender, that lesson comes so hard that sometimes adulthood is the only time the realization of the mistake comes through. By then, loved ones are already heartbroken.
T. Tara Turk is a novelist/playwright/screenwriter, living in LA with her boyfriend and dog - all three successful TV addicts. You can find her at www.ttaraturk.com or follow her on Twitter @ttaraturk.
45 minutes TV -14