A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show merges some educational lessons about engineering with some age-appropriate thrills of explosions. Teens always have adult supervision and use safety precautions.
Positive Role Models
There's a good bit of trash-talking between the teams, and it's not always good-natured. A team of skateboarders, for example, is openly contemptuous of their rivals -- self-described math geeks whom they call "dorks." The adults are good mentors.
Violence & Scariness
No fighting, but destruction is a fundamental part of the show. Kids are encouraged to destroy various vehicles or large machines, sometimes using explosives (with help from adult experts).
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Some mildly derogatory insults, such as "dork" or referring to a co-ed team as "ladies."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this engineering-themed reality show is heavy on demolition. Two teams of young people are encouraged to destroy large objects (like cars) and use the wreckage to build a machine of their own. With help from adult experts, the winners get to destroy the losers' creation using TNT, plastic explosives, military-grade weaponry, and other devices capable of inflicting heavy-duty damage. The "build" phase of the show requires some creative thinking and design sense, though the competition and the destruction segments take up much more of the show and present much less of a mental challenge. Expect some trash-talking between the teams, sometimes more good-natured than others.
Is It Any Good?
What's not to like about blowing stuff up? And the explosions on this show are seriously big -- which means they're certain to appeal to teen and tween viewers, especially boys. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, even though the point of the show is ostensibly engineering, it's the smallest part. Two-thirds of each episode is about destroying things, and only the building phase requires thinking and creativity. Still, at least the teenage participants aren't handling the explosives (or the power tools, for that matter). They serve more as directors, telling adults what to do and watching the results. Only during the actual contest do the kids really take a hands-on role, though they certainly seem to be having fun through the entire process.
Andrew W.K. and the producers encourage a fair bit of rivalry, and a few of the comments occasionally go a bit too far. A team of skaters, for example, crows that their skills at building skateboard ramps will help them design a superior vehicle and is openly contemptuous of their rivals, a group of self-defined math team geeks whom the skaters deride as "dorks." And in the end, the contest stage seems kind of random -- and the results don't depend all that much on either group's engineering prowess. But at least the explosions are fun to watch.
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.