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 Adam Ruins Everything is a comedy series that combines humor with investigative journalism to challenge people's beliefs about what we take for granted. It offers lots of facts based on expert research on things from advertising strategies to charitable giving organizations to icons such as (gulp!) Santa Claus. Gags include yelling and fake blood, and some episodes contain strong innuendo and references to STDs. There's some bleeped cursing, but words such as "crap," "hell," and ”ass" are common. There's a lot to be learned from this quirky exploration, and it could be a good jumping-off point for conversations with teens about why we believe what we do.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
ADAM RUINS EVERYTHING is a comedy series that combines humor with investigation to challenge our beliefs about what we take for granted in our everyday lives. With the help of cited research and appearances from experts, Adam Conover reveals the marketing ploys used to encourage people to believe they're purchasing and using products that are necessary, when in fact they may not be. He also highlights the problems behind social decisions and behaviors that, though well-intentioned, do more harm than good. From giving the actual reason why people desire diamond engagement rings to explaining why food drives can create more problems than good when trying to end hunger, Conover unravels urban myths and busts through bubbles of illusion to reveal true facts people really don’t want to hear.
Is it any good?
The well-informed, somewhat geeky series uses gags and witty banter to point out some of the painful truths behind the myths that guide common cultural habits. Much of the focus is on information that the average person may not know, including marketing-campaign strategies and early advertising that have normalized product-based choices and actions we make today. It also offers simplified explanations of political and historical phenomena that should (in theory) be common knowledge but that many people have not taken the time to learn, understand, or teach.
No doubt that some people will dispute the claims being made here. However, the show's commitment to highlighting the research behind them, including posting the source citations for each fact as it's revealed, makes it clear that they're not mere opinions. As a result, it’s hard not to get cynical after learning troubling or ugly truths about things we may have spent a lifetime believing in and being inspired by. Nonetheless, it might also motivate viewers to be more proactive about educating themselves about what they do and why they do it and to get them to think more about the consequences of their actions.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it’s like to learn troubling facts about things we may like or believe in. Do you feel easily swayed by advertising or opinion? Why, or why not?
Are shows such as this one designed to educate, or are they meant to use facts as a way of entertaining people? Is there ever a time when having too much information about something is a bad thing?