WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Track Review

Budding pop sensation? Or singer of the "worst song ever?"

Whatever 13-year-old Rebecca Black is, we can be sure of what she isn't anymore: A typical suburban youth hoping for a taste of fame. For better or worse, she's practically drowning in it.

To understand the phenomenon that is Rebecca Black's "Friday," let's back up a bit.

In 2010, Rebecca and her family stumbled upon Ark Music Factory, a vanity music label that helps wannabe musicians record and market songs for a price. In Black's case, the up-front cost was (according to The Daily Beast) $2,000—a package that gave Black the opportunity to record a song (written by Ark Music), have it "professionally" produced and star in a music video. Even then, Black's family still had to foot at least part of the bill for the video, which was subsequently posted (of course) on YouTube.

"I didn't really expect much to come out of it," Black told The Orange County Register. "Just maybe some friends and some family would see it."

And at first, "Friday" didn't cast its net much beyond that immediate audience. In its initial couple of weeks, the video was viewed a few thousand times.

But spurred in part by a March 11, 2011, blog post by Comedy Central's show Tosh.0, "Friday" went viral in a big way. By March 17, the video had garnered 13 million views. On March 24, the number was 43 million. As of the end of March, "Friday" had been viewed nearly 70 million times.

But here's the catch: "Friday" is so popular largely because it's a song people love to hate.

Many folks have taken issue with its lyrics, the video's production values and Black's Auto-Tuned singing. More than 1.2 million people have posted comments on YouTube—and the majority are unflattering at best, crudely cruel at worst. Some have even suggested that "Friday" might be the worst song ever.

The uproar over the video has been so deafening, in fact, that Ark Music offered to take it down. But Black said no: She didn't want to give the haters any satisfaction. That said, the largely negative publicity hasn't been easy for her.

"Those hurtful comments really shocked me," Black told The Daily Beast. "At times, it feels like I'm being cyberbullied."

Despite the Internet hate parade, though, Rebecca Black has actually attracted some pretty high-profile praise as well. Chris Brown called the video "great," Lady Gaga dubbed her a "genius," and none other than professional critic Simon Cowell encouraged her to ignore everyone over the age of 18. "Whether you like her or not, she's the most talked-about artist in America right now," he told New York magazine.

So what is this song all about, anyway?

Online critics' hyperventilating rhetoric notwithstanding, "Friday" is far from the worst song ever—either artistically or from a content point of view.

The lyrics are superficial, and therefore not very far askew from what you might expect to hear from many teen stars today. In a nutshell, Black ruminates breezily about the mundane happenings of her day, including eating breakfast ("Gotta have my bowl/gotta have cereal") and going to school ("Gotta get down to the bus stop/Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends"). But mostly she's excited 'cause it's Friday. Which means a weekend full of possibility awaits: "Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend," she chirps merrily.

It must be said that Black's idea of a great weekend isn't exactly the stuff of inspiration. It's all about "partying, partying (yeah!)" and "Fun, fun, fun, fun." (I'd love to hear Ark Music put together a song about chipping in at the local soup kitchen.) Furthermore, Black suggests that whoever's driving her to her "partying" destination isn't driving that safely ("We're drivin' on the highway/Cruisin' so fast")—a point, ahem, driven home by guest rapper Patrice "Pato" Wilson, who turns up late in the song: "I'm driving, cruising/Fast lanes, switching lanes/With a cop on my side."

The video sports the same "fun, fun" vibe. Mostly, it features Black and her smiling friends driving around in a convertible. In one (obviously not real) scene, Black and two prom dress-clad friends perch atop the seats in back as the faux city lights whiz by in the background. Additionally, one must wonder, if all of Black's buds are about the same age she is, why one of them is driving the car.

But that's as "bad" as the song or video ever get—hardly the sort of media influence required to inspire, say, rampant meth use. And, truth be told, the tune is kinda catchy in a Disney-channel sort of way.

Far be it, then, for Plugged In to join the haters. I can't say that "Friday" will wind up on my (or my kids') iPod anytime soon, but I can think of far worse ways to spend four minutes of my time.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!