Destroy Build Destroy

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Destroy Build Destroy TV Poster Image
Engineering + explosions = fun reality show for tweens.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 20 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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).


Some mildly derogatory insults, such as "dork" or referring to a co-ed team as "ladies."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 9-year-old Written bypurplemoon July 16, 2009

We love this show!

We love this! Our nine year old wants to be an engineer when he grows up and he loves the creativity aspect of this show (so do we!). It shows teamwork ~ for su... Continue reading
Adult Written byHeath B. November 18, 2017

One of my favorites

Okay, looking back I remember when I was a child having to be forced away from the TV every Wednesday night because this show aired past bed time but the times... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bydantethepandaa May 21, 2021

classic show

I'm a big Andrew W.K. fan, and this show was MYSTICAL growing up (it never came on while I was awake, and I had no way to rewatch episodes), so I'm bi... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byThe Emoji Movie... June 4, 2020

One of the worst of Ben Bocquelet

This was surprisingly created by the same person behind The Amazing World of Gumball. This is very terrible because every time they build something, they destro... Continue reading

What's the story?

In DESTROY BUILD DESTROY, two teams of young people go head-to-head in an engineering-themed competition -- with a healthy dose of destruction thrown in for fun. The show's title describes the three stages of the contest. Host Andrew W.K. starts the action by asking each team to pick a method to destroy something big -- like a car or other major machine -- using high explosives, a team of burly guys armed with heavy tools, dropping it off a cliff, or another equally effective demolition technique. Using the wreckage, the teens must then construct something new that they can use in a contest (think along the lines of a tennis ball air cannon mounted on a movable platform). At the end of the show, the winning team gets to destroy the losing group's creation using even more impressive tools of destruction, including military-grade weaponry or plastic explosives.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about which part of the show is more fun to watch -- the building or the destroying. Why? If you were on the show, which part would be more fun to actually be involved with? Do you think it's OK for a TV show to encourage young people to blow up stuff, using real (and really powerful) explosives? Families can also discuss mechanical engineering. What do you think of the teams' designs? Would you have built something differently? How could you improve on their creations?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love finding out how stuff works

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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