A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Ultmately, the message is positive: Addicts and their families can break their destructive cycles. But the program also shows how incredibly difficult it is -- though no show could accurately document the life-long journey that addiction recovery really is.
Positive Role Models
While the addicts in the throes of their addiction are not good role models, the fact that they do step up and try to beat their addictions shows them trying to make good choices. Parents try to help their kids, and the host is a successfully recovered addict who is now trying to help others (and make some money as a reality TV host...).
Violence & Scariness
Scenes of family fights involving yelling; addicts are shown falling down, etc. and using drugs that clearly are affecting their health.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some talk about sexual behavior and prostitution.
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Lots of bleeped language, including "f--k" and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The show is about drug and alcohol abuse and we see the addicts drinking and shooting up, with close-ups on their faces while high, etc.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show is extremely raw, and shows addicts getting drunk and high in close-up detail. Viewers see needles inserted into arms, copious amounts of alcohol consumed, and tricks addicts use to acquire drugs and alcohol (like unscrewing a locked refrigerator door). There's also a lot of anger flying around within the families of addicts. Warnings appear at each commercial break about the graphic nature of the show.
Is It Any Good?
It's hard to say if it's the simple rawness of the show that is off-putting or the fact that there are so many other similar shows out there. If anything, one feels de-sensitized to the pain of the addict and the families. Sure, it's sad, but it doesn't hit home. For viewers with addiction in their families, the show could serve as a reminder of the pain and consequences of an addict's behavior and possibly encourage addicts to get help. That said, there is some simplification of the recovery process, as one would expect in a reality television show.
The execution is competent and the storytelling interesting, if voyeuristic. Viewers can judge for themselves if they think the addicts featured on the show are competent enough to make the decision to air their troubles on reality television -- a decision that will live on in perpetuity.
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.