A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The featured medical professionals care about their patients' health and engage one another in healthy debate. Patients speak frankly about their situations. Patients come from diverse backgrounds. The obesity-focused subject matter may bring up body issues for viewers.
Violence & Scariness
Graphic surgical scenes, sometimes involving blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussion of sexual activity, feelings of attractiveness, and desire -- all in a therapeutic setting. Some nonsexual nudity related to treatment; key parts are always blurred.
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Rare mild profanity like "sucks" and "hell."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the surgery scenes in this medical reality show are sometimes bloody and often graphic, showing intestines, veins, stomachs, and more. Given the show's focus on bodies (the featured doctors treat morbid obesity), there are lots of scenes involving nudity, though it's in a nonsexual context, and key naked parts are always blurred or covered (underwear is sometimes visible). Sex -- including desire and frequency -- is sometimes discussed in a therapeutic setting. Brief shots of bedsores and other weight-related injuries can be difficult to see. The show's topic may bring up body image issues for some viewers.
Is It Any Good?
The show gives viewers the sense that the two doctors, the more traditional father and more experimental son, are a friendly, knowledgeable team with a passion for their work. Patients include 26-year-old Alan, whose weight is unknown, but probably nears 1,000 pounds. He is confined to his bed where his monolingual Spanish-speaking mother cares for him daily, from helping him go to the bathroom, to bathing him and changing the bandages on his bedsores. Another patient is a 19-year-old young woman who, after undergoing bypass surgery, has an enormous amount of excess skin that makes her body look like it belongs to a much older woman. She gets plastic surgery to improve her skin tone and appearance.
The shots of these morbidly obese patients as they lay naked in their home or hospital beds (with key parts covered by blankets) are sometimes shocking. Watching feels like invading someone's privacy, but part of the appeal of the show is being able to see bodies one might have wondered about, but never actually seen. With such intense fat phobia in our culture, Big Medicine walks a fine line between engendering empathy, and contributing to a sense of disgust, rather than respect.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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