Big Brother

TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
Big Brother TV Poster Image
Voyeuristic reality TV is iffy for teens.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 33 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Show themes include the creation of alliances, betrayals, and other typical reality show topics.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The contestants use devious methods to expel their opponents.

Violence

In some of the tasks, contestants end up with bruises and sore muscles. In one season, a contestant allegedly threatened another with a knife.

Sex

Some skimpy outfits; heavy, frequent flirting between the contestants. Some relationships have gone far past the flirting stage, all the way to sex (including oral sex and group sessions); while there's no graphic action or nudity in the primetime broadcasts, it's clear what's going on, and unedited versions are available on cable's Big Brother After Dark.

Language

Words include "crap," "ass," "bitch," "slut," etc.

Consumerism

Product placement and sponsorships are frequent. Celebrities have come by the house to promote themselves/their projects.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking. Occasional excessive drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the contestants on this voyeuristic reality show are 14 adults who live together in a house. Their close proximity leads to various iffy situations, including excessive drinking and hooking up. What's more, the contestants manipulate each other (lying, flirting, etc.) to get a leg up on their opponents.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7, 7, and 9-year-old Written bymckmommy September 3, 2009

OK for kids

Yes BB has alot of things wrong w/it as far as concerns go like the arguing some not so good language drinking and skimpy outfits and flirting but hey they see... Continue reading
Parent Written byHeather M. July 9, 2019
Teen, 14 years old Written byWannaBeKardashian August 16, 2011

Not as bad as people say:)

it's not as bad as people make out-no sex is shown on screen (which is rare anyways) ALL swearwords are bleeped out, the only drinking is when they win the... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byScreennameGirl March 3, 2012

Good Show For Teens and Adults

My favorite reality TV show! Possibly even my favorite TV show. Contestants are trapped in a huge house with no way to contact the outside world. They have chal... Continue reading

What's the story?

In CBS' BIG BROTHER, 14 contestants live under the same roof and vie for the chance to be the last resident remaining -- and to win $500,000. Under the watchful gaze of hidden cameras in every room, the contestants spend three months sequestered in their souped-up quarters (often tricked out with products placed by advertisers) completing challenges and scheming to evict the other competitors in a bid to be the last one standing. In the first season, viewers voted housemates out, but that approach was abandoned for a more traditional one starting in Season 2, when the contestants started evicting each other directly. The host is The Early Show's somewhat wooden Julie Chen.

Is it any good?

Big Brother entertains viewers with its scandalous situations -- Jacuzzi hook-ups, threats, etc. -- confessionals in the video diary room and, of course, the contestants' shameless cunning and guile. But while reality show addicts (and anyone who likes a good voyeuristic thrill) will want to tune in, ultimately Big Brother -- which features contestants frolicking in bikinis and canned personality conflicts -- fails to live up to its more intelligent reality-show peers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about healthy competition. Why is it important to be a good sport? How can you handle an opponent who doesn't play fair? Which of the contestants on this show play fair, and which don't? Is it OK to play dirty with so much at stake? Why or why not?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 5, 2000
  • Cast: Julie Chen
  • Network: CBS
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: NR
  • Available on: DVD, Streaming
  • Last updated: March 14, 2020

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