By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Reality star's search for a "true" friend rings false.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Brody's pool of potential BFFs is diverse and includes one openly gay friend who refers to himself as "the token gay guy" -- although it doesn't take long for him to realize that Brody's lifestyle is all about the ladies. A few of the other guys vying for the top spot seem genuine, but since they're willing to compete in over-the-top challenges involving fraternity-style pranks, scantily clad "hot chicks," and alcohol, their suitability as role models is debatable at best.
Violence & Scariness
Some of the guys' antics (like surf-boarding down a flight of stairs) are dangerous.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of body-part references and euphemisms (i.e. "morning wood" and "johnson") and some partial nudity (including exposed buttocks and a scene in which one guy is completely naked -- although he's blacked-out below the belt). One challenge involves a "lingerie party" featuring girls dancing, stripper-style, in bras and panties.
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"F--k" is used a lot, but it's bleeped (in at least one instance, a guy curses so much that 80 percent of his sentence is bleeped out). Audible curse words include "bitch," "hell," and "ass." The guys also sling around terms like "douche bag," "p---y," and "bromosexual."
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Products & Purchases
The show is less label-conscious than you might think, but the winner does get a penthouse apartment that's been fully furnished by the West Elm company. Another challenge is sponsored by Frederick's of Hollywood.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some guys smoke cigarettes, and most episodes involve lots of drinking (including downing shots of hard liquor), although everyone is of legal age. Still, Brody draws the line when a wannabe friend gets too drunk in public and embarrasses the group.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, although this reality series spin-off will likely appeal to high school-aged fans of The Hills, it's hardly a great choice for teens. Sure, your kids won't technically hear the F-bomb because it's bleeped out, but they'll hear plenty of bleeping -- and they'll definitely know what's being said. It's also true that they won't see any underage drinking, but if they look up to the over-21 guys on the show, they'll be exposed to plenty of iffy behavior that you wouldn't want them to emulate. A few brand-names are promoted, too, and girls (who are often referred to as "hot chicks") are sometimes objectified. In short, if you're looking for a show that will expose your kids to positive role models ... keep looking.
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What's the Story?
Brody Jenner (Lauren Conrad's former flame on The Hills and the son of Olympic champion Bruce Jenner) is looking for someone to love -- in a brotherly way, of course -- in this MTV reality competition that pits nine guys from across the country against one another in "the ultimate test of male bonding." Over the course of several weeks, the guys jump through hoops at Jenner's bidding in a series of elimination-style challenges, try ingto edge each other out in hopes of joining Jenner's entourage of "It" guys. In the process, they try to prove themselves worthy of the high life and winning the ultimate prize: a fully furnished penthouse with an A-list view of Los Angeles ... and permission to stand in Jenner's shadow.
Is It Any Good?
When it comes to pure entertainment value, BROMANCE is only slightly better than the Ryan Seacrest-produced show that inspired it, Paris Hilton's My New BFF. But both shows are equally questionable when it comes to the shallow values they promote, which could send teens mixed signals when it comes to role modeling. Some guys actually seem like they want to be Jenner's new "friend," while others are clearly in it for their 15 minutes of fame.
And Jenner himself is a troubling mix of fuzzy motivations: part good guy, part bad guy, part player, and part victim. (After all, The Hills' Spencer Pratt kind of makes him look like a saint.) In the end, it would be easy to dismiss Bromance as mindless entertainment -- but wouldn't you rather your kids watch something that actually makes them think?
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the real reason that a reality TV star like Brody Jenner might want to launch a national search for a new best friend. Jenner already has a pair of dependable "wing men," so why would he need to find a new companion? Do you think his motivations are genuine? Why or why not? And do you think his search will yield someone who will actually remain his friend for more than 10 minutes? What qualities is Jenner looking for in a friend? How do they compare with the qualities you value in your friends?
- Premiere date: December 29, 2008
- Cast: Brody Jenner, Femi Borisade, Frankie Delgado
- Network: MTV
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: February 24, 2022
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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