Abby and Brittany
By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Conjoined twin docuseries is positive but voyeuristic.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series highlights how these conjoined twins live ordinary and productive lives despite their unique physical connection. The idea that these young women -- and all people who are different -- should be treated respectfully runs throughout.
Positive Role Models
Abby and Brittany are very self-confident, positive, and live very independently. They have a very supportive network of friends and family, too.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
The two sometimes talk about dating and/or having children in the future.
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Products & Purchases
Ford SUVs and other vehicles are visible; the logos are not prominently displayed.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the family-friendly reality series Abby and Brittany features the conjoined twins as they finish college and set out on their adult life. It's voyeuristic like most shows of this type, but contains lots of positive messages about loving yourself, being positive, and enjoying life in a healthy and proactive way.
Where to Watch
Based on 2 parent reviews
TV show places Abby and Brittany in a positive light
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Surprisingly good reality TV show
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What's the Story?
ABBY AND BRITTANY is a reality doc featuring 22-year-old conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel as they finish their senior year of college at Minnesota's Bethel University and transition into their adult life. The twins, who are majoring in education to become elementary school teachers, face unique challenges as a result of sharing one body and having individual organs from the waist up. But whether it's hanging out and throwing parties with their college roommates or facing the uncertainties that come with being new college grads, the confident duo demonstrates that regardless of how people see them, they are as normal as anyone else.
Is It Any Good?
The series is the latest of several documentary projects featuring the Hansel twins, who have received lots of attention over the years due to the unique way that they are conjoined. There are some details offered about how they function while sharing single body, but the focus really is on Abby and Brittany's personalities, their relationship with each other, and how they socially and professionally interact with the rest of the world. Observations offered by friends and family fill out some of these details.
While the show succeeds in showing how these young women live a life that is extraordinarily ordinary, it also feels a little exploitative. But despite its voyeuristic appeal, the show contains lots of positive messages about loving and accepting who you are with grace and humor that viewers of all ages can appreciate and benefit from.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about twins. Why are some twins conjoined and others aren't? Are conjoined twins ever separated? What are some of the medical issues they may face as a result of being conjoined? What makes Abby and Brittany unique from other conjoined twins?
Why do you think the Hensel twins agreed to be on a reality show? Do you think the messages about how "normal" they are is best communicated in this TV format? If they weren't conjoined twins, do you think they would be interesting enough to have their own show?
How does the Hensel family relate to the media? What choices have they made about appearing on TV or in magazines? Why?
- Premiere date: August 28, 2012
- Cast: Abby Hensel, Brittany Hensel
- Network: TLC
- Genre: Reality TV
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, High School
- TV rating: TV-G
- Last updated: February 25, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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