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 American Grit features people with strong fitness backgrounds competing in extreme military-inspired challenges. Patriotism and defending the country are addressed, but the show also underscores teamwork, communication, and pushing your body and mind to the limit. Contestants suffer a range of injuries; some collapse and fall unconscious during challenges. There's some bleeped cursing, too. Team leaders are veterans who are tough but supportive.
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What's the story?
Hosted by WWF's John Cena, AMERICAN GRIT is a competition series featuring four decorated military heroes leading groups of civilians through military-style survival and endurance challenges. Navy Seal Commander Rorke Denver, Army Ranger Nick Irving, Marine Gunnery Sergeant Tawanda "Tee" Hanible, and Army Sergeant Noah Galloway lead a cadre of four hand-picked civilians comprising pro body builders, yogis, ex-NFL players, roller-derby queens, and even no-nonsense moms who have been affected by the military in some way. Each episode features the cadres competing in "evolutions" -- challenges that pit the teams against each other. After each evolution, a member of each losing team is chosen by the leader to participate in "the circus," a grueling combination of challenges designed to test strength, stamina, and perseverance. The competitor who gives up or collapses first "rings out" of the circus and goes home. The remaining competitors in each cadre go on to the next round, hoping to show that they have true grit to make it through. The winning team gets up to $1 million dollars.
Is it any good?
This high-adrenaline reality competition combines military-themed challenges with wrestling-style excitement to show how far people will push themselves to win. It also highlights the importance of being physically fit, teamwork, having good communication skills, and other traits. All of this is offered within the context of paying homage to the U.S. Armed Forces, who serve and protect the country every day.
Some will find the patriotic messages meaningful, and others will be inspired by the willingness of the contestants to prove that they can push themselves beyond their normal limits. But some will question what they see here, given the the intensity of the challenges and the potential harm they can cause. Nonetheless, there's lots of adrenaline here, which many viewers will find entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the dangers associated with extreme challenge competitions. Is it healthy to push your body through challenges that can cause people's bodies to break down? How are these events justified throughout the show?
Subjects such as military duty, patriotism, and heroism are important, but should they be used to create reality TV entertainment? Do you think shows such as these could inspire viewers to join the armed forces?