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1000 Ways to Die
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this reality series about unconventional deaths includes some brief scientific explanations of the tragic events, overall the show focuses more on exploiting the victims' final moments than on teaching people how to prevent them. Expect lots of graphic reenactments and real-life images of people's final moments and gruesome injuries. There's also some strong sexual innuendo (including references to masturbation), iffy language, and references to drinking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
1000 WAYS TO DIE reenacts and analyzes real people's accidental and sometimes strange deaths. It uses a combination of real-life video, still photos, and interviews with friends of the deceased to flesh out the details of these deaths -- which are caused by everything from a spine being severed by a closing window to someone getting electrocuted by a light post. Forensic experts and other scientists also weigh in on how seemingly harmless acts led to these fatal moments. Finally, the show touches on some of the ways that people have been tortured and/or put to death throughout history.
Is it any good?
This morbid, campy series presents each death story in a way that's intended to be both voyeuristic and amusing. Each tale is accompanied by graphic novel-type images and tongue-in-cheek titles (for example, the story of a man who froze in a meat locker is titled "Freeze Died") to add humor, and some of the commentary offers ironic speculations about what people were thinking and/or the lessons they learned while they lay dying. And, of course, it's all accompanied by disturbing images -- both real and reenacted -- of gruesome injuries and people in the moments just before their death.
The show offers limited scientific information about how the body can fatally react to certain things. But its real focus is on exploiting the unorthodox ways that people have died over the years. Although the names of the deceased are changed to protect their privacy, the choice to make their final moments a source of entertainment reflects a disturbing lack of sensitivity. This troubling lack of compassion -- along with the show's endless parade of graphic images -- makes it a poor choice for young kids and very iffy even for teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the pros and cons of featuring accidents and/or deaths on a reality show. Is it ever OK to treat these events as a source of entertainment? Does it make a difference if the stories are presented within the context of educating viewers? Families can also talk discuss how death and dying are treated in mainstream American culture. Did you know that some cultures incorporate death as a major part of life? How does this show treat its subjects?
For kids who love reality TV
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