TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
3AM TV Poster Image
Graphic sex, drinking, raunchy antics mark reality.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Staying true to oneself is emphasized, though parents may find some activities depicted questionable.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Prostitutes, night club pros, door people, others depicted; parents may balk at calling them role models. 


Sex graphically depicted on-screen with nudity (breasts), moans, and thrusts; dancers in a club shake their naked bodies; gay and straight women and men kiss and flirt. Nude women pictured advertising a photographer's services. A prostitute graphically describes her services, and we see her on a "date." A man cross-dresses. 


Unbleeped four-letter words; usually used in annoyance or anger, not directed at other people. Vulgar words for body parts; offensive language ("tranny"), four-letter words in reference to sex ("When was the last girl you f--ked?"), very graphic discussion of sex acts. A man looks for women, declaring, "Let's go find some sluts." 


Bar/club logos shown on-screen. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many scenes take place in nightclubs where attendees drink; many people appear drunk on-screen. Discussion of drugs. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 3AM is a documentary series about denizens of the NYC nightlife scene. Its stars have jobs such as nightclub photographer, Internet performer, and prostitute. Sex is graphically depicted on-screen, with nudity (breasts and behinds), thrusts, moaning, and descriptions of sex acts. Nude female bodies are used to advertise a club; women are referred to as "sluts" and coerced into taking suggestive pictures. Unbleeped cursing includes four-letter words, vulgar words for body parts, and descriptions of sex acts. Drugs are discussed, and participants drink copious amounts of alcohol and act drunk on-screen. However, the value of staying true to oneself is emphasized frequently in a way viewers may find reassuring.

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What's the story?

At an hour when most people are sleeping deeply, the people depicted in Dick Wolf's docuseries 3AM are in full flower. DJs, prostitutes, club kids, bouncers -- the characters we meet are busy entertaining themselves, making a living, looking for love, and getting in trouble. We see these colorful New York City characters going on dates (or "dates"), cavorting in clubs, zipping around town in cabs, and doing plenty of things parents might wish their teens wouldn't see. 

Is it any good?

Much like any other docuseries depicting the more sordid side of life, 3AM is interesting, all right. Though viewers might not themselves enjoy being screamed at by drunken shoeless women in the middle of the night or having sex with strangers for money, it's great viewing, particularly from the vantage point of a big, comfy couch. Clearly, 3AM's participants are hamming it up for the camera, though the camera takes pains to distance itself. We're often watching the subjects from behind an obstacle -- a parking meter, a tree -- after which they talk about themselves and their lives in close-up interviews. It never feels as if we're penetrating into the inner essence of what makes each person tick, but watching them go to all-night secret raves or pick up strangers at a corner market is good, naughty viewing. Parents may not appreciate teens watching, however -- there are a lot of questionable activities pictured, including a prostitute's "date" with a client and a photographer who tricks/begs/coerces women into posing for suggestive shots. If teens must watch, parents have some work to do countering the show's conflicting messages. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Besides the colorful types of professions you see on 3AM, what other kinds of people work at night?

  • What do you suppose happens at 3 a.m. in your town? Is it anything like what you see in 3AM

TV details

  • Premiere date: May 28, 2015
  • Network: Showtime
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-MA
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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