America's Worst Tattoos

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
America's Worst Tattoos TV Poster Image
Stories behind bad tattoos can get edgy.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Getting a tattoo isn't presented as a bad thing, but it highlights some of the mistakes people make when choosing tattoo images, artists, etc., many of which can lead to regrets later. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tattoo artists offer tips for choosing tattoos, cover ups, etc. Those being inked are from all walks of life. 


Some tattoos feature frightening or bloody imagery. Knives, guns, and other weapons are sometimes part of the designs. 


Some tattoos feature sexy or partially nude images. Occasionally folks have to remove their clothing (shirts, pants) to have work done; private parts are not shown. 


Curses ("s--t," "f--k") are bleeped. 


The series is a promotional vehicle for the artists' inking work and cover up talent. Parts of their shops are featured. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some folks discuss getting their tattoos while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or people who participated in a destructive lifestyle. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that America's Worst Tattoos features tattoos that range from being weird or ugly to overly sexual, violent, and even racist. The stories behind the images often refer to making poor lifestyle choices, which include abusing drugs and alcohol. Occasional strong language is bleeped. Getting tattoos is viewed as an appropriate choice for some people, but one that shouldn't be made lightly or for the wrong reasons. 

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What's the story?

AMERICA'S WORST TATTOOS features folks hoping to get strange, funny, and just plain ugly tattoos transformed into artistic masterpieces by talented inkers. Artists like NY Ink's Megan Massacre, Jeremy Swan, Tim Pangburn, and Lisa Del Toro meet folks who have been living with awful tattoos that are the result of being inked by an inexperienced tattoo artist, losing a bet, and other bad choices. The tattoo artists design and ink new artwork that will either incorporate or simply cover up the earlier bad work. During the inking process, the backstories of each bad tattoo are shared. In-between sessions with the tattoo artists, interviews with people showing off their worst tattoos are featured.

Is it any good?

Despite stories about getting a bad tattoo as a rite of passage or a result of trying to ink themselves, you won't find any anti-tattoo talk here. Instead, America's Worst Tattoos highlights the important dos and don'ts that people who want to get inked should think about before permanently marking their bodies. It also highlights the many challenges that come with trying to make the images better afterwards. 

Audiences may find humor in some of the stories clients share here. Some might be shocked by some of the bad tattoos showcased, and where on their bodies they are located. But the decision to have the tattoos covered up are treated as positive things, and represent growth, maturity, and better taste.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reasons people get tattooed. What are some of the things people should think about before getting inked? Is this reality show effectively highlighting this? Or is it really just meant to entertain audiences with other people's mistakes?

  • What cultures use inked markings as part of their daily practices throughout history? Has the meaning of those markings changed over the centuries? What cultures or communities incorporate tattoos into their cultural practices today? 

  • Do you know anyone with a tattoo? Why did they get it? Did they think about the consequences of what they were getting at the time? Will they still like it twenty years from now? 

TV details

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