A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series -- in which ex-convicts compete for the chance to run a high-end restaurant for a famous Canadian chef -- highlights the importance of giving people second chances and making the most of those chances when they're offered. That's clearly a positive message, but there's plenty of iffy stuff here, too, including conversations about the ex-cons' criminal backgrounds and drug use. Expect lots of salty language (words like “damn" and “bitch” are audible, and "f--k," while bleeped, is used endlessly) and some angry arguments between cast members, which sometimes lead to threats of violence. Sensitive viewers may also find scenes of animals being slaughtered and skinned for restaurant consumption a little tough to watch.
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What's the story?
Canadian reality show CONVICTION KITCHEN challenges 24 ex-cons with no culinary experience to learn the restaurant trade and open a high-end restaurant in just three weeks. The hopefuls -- all of whom served time for crimes ranging from bank robbery to drug trafficking -- train with renowned chef March Thuet and his wife/business partner, Biana Zorch, in hopes of being one of the 12 chosen to help successfully manage the couple's new restaurant. Each participant must prove him/herself by preparing dishes, waiting on tables, and behaving professionally. Once the new restaurant is opened, they have three months to turn a profit -- or risk losing it all.
Is it any good?
Part reality competition and part social experiment, Conviction Kitchen serves as a platform for highlighting the many challenges that people with a criminal background face when they try to turn their lives around. Thuet, who himself is an ex-convict, views the project as a way of giving back to the community.
But the pressures of building a successful business, combined with Thuet and Zorch’s no-nonsense personalities, lead to lots of tension and profanity-filled moments. And the fact that some of the trainees’ can't handle the pressures associated with running a restaurant professionally results in plenty of angry confrontations and potentially violent situations. Still, the show's overall message about giving people a second chance is very positive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how ex-convicts are presented in the media. What is the value of featuring people convicted of serious crimes on a reality show? Entertainment? Exploitation?
Do you think celebrities who've been convicted of crimes have a
responsibility to use their status in the media to help others to turn
their lives around?