Breaking up with Shannen Doherty

TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
Breaking up with Shannen Doherty TV Poster Image
Bizarre, voyeuristic reality show. Why??

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Promotes the irresponsible, unrealistic idea that although breaking up is hard to do, it's a lot easier if you get someone else to do it for you.


References to cheating and hooking up with other people.


Mild: "hell," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in this series, Shannen Doherty (of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame) helps women break up with their boyfriends and end relationships with their friends. Unlike Dr. Phil, who, while he rubs some folks the wrong way, tries to take a concerned, last-ditch-effort approach to ending a relationship, Doherty comes across as catty and mean -- almost gleeful -- as she skewers the men (and sometimes friends and roommates) sent to her by fed-up women. It's uncomfortable, voyeuristic, and irresponsible.

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What's the story?

In BREAKING UP WITH SHANNEN DOHERTY, Shannen Doherty -- a TV star with a rather poor personal reputation for maintaining relationships -- helps people through difficult breakups by creating artificial situations in which she can evaluate the relationship before instigating a split. In one episode, for example, Doherty (who does double duty as host and executive producer) helped a woman involved in a long-distance relationship with an admitted \"player\" dump him by inviting him to be part of a focus group. Doherty then played the video of him answering incriminating questions to his girlfriend, who was waiting backstage. But not all of Doherty's interventions end up in splitsville. After the interlude described above, Doherty grilled another woman's live-in boyfriend before giving him an ultimatum: Marry her or say goodbye. He agreed that his girlfriend was too good to lose; when Doherty followed up with them a month later, they were happily planning their wedding.

Is it any good?

The occasional happy outcome aside, though, what's sad about this show is how it makes a joke out of an incredibly painful subject. The women seeking answers come across as glib and vacant, and the men in the hot seat seem amused (after being dumped, one man exclaims, "all right!"), perturbed, and defensive. Doherty obviously means well, but the way she injects herself into such personal situations with so little outward unease won't give viewers much to like about both her and her show.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to treat a significant other or friend with respect when a relationship ends. Why do some people handle a break up well, while others resort to cowardice to break the news to their loved one? Is there any good way to get over the end of a relationship?

TV details

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