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Alaskan Steel Men
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 Alaskan Steel Men, a reality show about a crew of welders in Kodiak, is pretty rough around the edges. There's lots of cursing, with only the strongest words bleeped, plus some blurred nudity, and hazing among the men (though nothing dangerous). Work accidents (burns, punctured eyes, etc.) are frequent; there's not a lot of blood, but some require medical attention. Occasionally arguments lead to yelling, throwing, and some wrestling.
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What's the story?
ALASKAN STEEL MEN is a reality series about a team of welders in Kodiak, Alaska. The series stars Dennis Butts, owner of Quality Marine Alaska, who is called to repair things like oil tankers, power plants, oil refineries, canneries, and large fishing boats on a moment's notice. Joining his team are his right hand man Scottie, former U.S. Marine Cooper, underwater diver Duke, and George, who Dennis considers the brains behind the operation. Probationary welders (a.k.a. the Greenhorns) Dean and Jameson are learning on the job. Butts' wife Theresa acts as account manager and debt collector. Every job is different, but each brings with it its share of hazardous situations that could lead to deadly results if the work isn't done right.
Is it any good?
Alaskan Steel Men offers an interesting look at the dangerous jobs of Alaskan welders and pipe fitters, who must travel to and work in remote locations that are extremely cold, and that requires them to climb treacherous pipes, dive in freezing waters, and work with potentially explosive machinery. It also shows how their work plays a major role in keeping industries like fishing, canning, and petroleum going.
It's not the most action-packed show, and some events are dramatized for the cameras. But the various repair calls the crew makes, which range from sinking ships to failing power grids, are interesting. Meanwhile, the crew is rough, but likable. Reality fans who like this sort of thing will probably find it entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the variety of important jobs that people do, but that get little recognition. Do TV shows like this one offer realistic views of what these jobs are really like? Or are they dramatized for the sake of entertainment?
What kinds of reality shows are most popular? What are the current trends in reality television? Who makes the choices about what kinds of reality TV to produce?