Back to the Grind

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Back to the Grind TV Poster Image
Classic TV stars put on the payroll for laughs.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Celebrities try hard to master tasks and are respectful of those who do the real work.


Episodes involve work as a police officer, hospital worker, and judge.


Infrequent references to sexual activity. One actor receives a call from a woman who says she's never had an orgasm.


Occasional bleeped profanity (it's often hard to tell exactly what's beeing bleeped because the person's mouth isn't shown).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality show puts former stars of classic TV shows into real-life working situations. Overall the show is very tame, and actors clearly aren't expected to do any serious work. But they do occasionally swear (it's bleeped), encounter fairly mild/brief sexual talk (like a caller who says she's never had an orgasm), or do things like attempt to draw blood from a patient (as part of the job, of course!). Watching an actor struggle with the job they did so effortlessly on television might help younger viewers think more critically when consuming media.

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What's the story?

This lightweight, comic reality series puts classic TV stars like Loni Anderson and Sherman Hemsley to work at the jobs they pretended to do onscreen, from being a receptionist to working in a hospital. For example, Anderson spends a day answering phones at a busy radio station -- just like she did when she played Jennifer on WKRP in Cincinnati. A consummate professional, Anderson gives the job her best while trying to take coffee orders that resemble a foreign language, speaking hip-hop slang on the air, and screening calls for Loveline.

Is it any good?

Watching aging stars struggle through real "everyday" jobs is both amusing and a little bit sad. They certainly try their hardest -- and they always give the real workers appropriate props in the end -- but seeing them muddle their way through learning a new job for the sake of a reality show is a little depressing.

That said, there's not too much to worry about here, though chances are younger kids won't be interested. Occasional bleeped curses and rare references to sexual activity (one radio caller says she's never had an orgasm) are the only really iffy elements.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the jobs that actors pretend to perform on television and in the movies. Do you think they get any training for their pretend careers? Has a TV show ever inspired you or anyone you know to want to pursue a certain career? If so, what about the show or the job appealed to you? How do you think the real work would compare to what you see on the screen?

TV details

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