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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 this reality series -- which follows four Pacific Northwest logging crews as they risk life and limb to cut timber in remote mountain areas -- highlights the dangers associated with logging (including some of the wounds sustained on the job, like one man's severed fingers). Loggers are occasionally shown getting hurt, and although no blood or graphic images are actually visible, some of these intense moments may be scary to young viewers. Perhaps not surprisingly given the stressful nature of the loggers' lifestyle, there's also a fair amount of strong language ("ass" and "damn"; words like "bitch" and "f--k" are bleeped out).
History channels' Ax Men stoops low for ratings.
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What's the Story?
AX MEN highlights the very real dangers that timber cutters face when logging in the remote mountain areas of the Pacific Northwest. The men who work for the four featured Oregon logging companies -- Gustafson, J.M. Browning, Stump Branch, and Pihl -- must climb and cut trees and remove logs from areas that machines can't access. Every day out on the rugged slopes is a survival story as they struggle against unpredictable weather and deal with frustrating, dangerous mechanical failures. But with the knowledge that each completed job translates into a paycheck, they willingly risk their lives to get this \"green gold\" out of the mountains and into the sawmills.
Is It Any Good?
This reality show offers a gritty look at the everyday lives of the loggers who provide the country with the wood necessary to build new homes, furniture, and other items that many of us take for granted. Viewers get detailed explanations of how trees are cut and hauled up mountains and descriptions of some of the unique tools used to get the jobs done. But the show's main focus is the hazards of the profession, which range from pulling muscles to getting hit by falling timber. Some of these moments actually occur on camera, highlighting the peril of the job. (That said, safety and teamwork are also stressed.)
Though their manners are sometimes rough and their language a bit salty for kids, these hardworking, down-to-earth loggers offer an honest look into their lives. Aware that they're often stereotyped and/or accused of depleting natural resources by those unfamiliar with their industry, the loggers are candid about their vocation and the dangers they face. They note that part of their job includes planting trees to replace the ones they've cut down, and some also make a point of saying that their profession isn't just part of their family heritage but continues the 100-year-old tradition of America's frontier. Their jobs may not be glamorous, but the significance of the work they do certainly hits home.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the appeal of shows about dangerous jobs. What do you think compels people to do them? What makes watching them on the job interesting? Do you think these jobs are as dangerous or dramatic as they seem on television, or is that played up for entertainment value? Families can also discuss what loggers and fisherman do to protect the environment while they do their jobs. Can television be used to help these efforts?
- Premiere date: March 9, 2008
- Cast: Jay Browning, Melvin Lardy, Mike Pihl
- Network: History
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 11, 2023
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