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 series' humor doesn't come just from the grubby vocations being reported on, but also from the irony of seeing Mike Rowe -- a well-spoken, likeable television host -- up to his elbows in the dirty jobs of everyday American laborers. The show includes adult-oriented sarcasm, but chances are it will go over the head of most kids. Younger viewers will be enthralled by the series' dirt, stench, and general ick, but the language and humor make it best for older tweens and up.
What's the story?
Mike Rowe may seem like the least likely person to get messy. He's sung with the Baltimore opera, sold jewelry on QVC, and worked for years as the host of a local TV show about the San Francisco Bay Area. It was while working on that show that he did a segment on a local dirty job, found a niche, pitched it to the Discovery Channel, and -- voilá! -- DIRTY JOBS was born. The series may make some viewers uncomfortable, but those with an iron stomach will enjoy watching Rowe and his cameraman, Troy Paff, meet the men and women who work in some pretty disgusting yet important vocations. Rowe has donned his work clothes to feed slop to hogs, help catch rattlesnakes, work with septic-tank technicians, remove bones from fish, and much more.
Is it any good?
Rowe's nonstop, sarcastic one-liners are a large component of the show -- they help him get through his experiences. For example, when pouring spoiled milk to pigs, a farmer shares a story about once giving them fermented ice cream, which got the pigs drunk. Rowe's reply? "Sure, might as well have a shot before going off to meet your maker." Rowe is affable with the workers, and they seem generally tickled to be showcased. But considering that Rowe once muttered "stupid job" when he wasn't able to catch a runaway hog, it's hard not to wonder whether there's a bit of condescension involved, too.
Young kids may enjoy watching Rowe dive for golf balls in alligator-infested waters, but with its adult humor, Dirty Jobs is better for older tweens and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the featured jobs and the physical strength, bravery, and stamina displayed by those who do them day in and day out. Rowe enjoys informing viewers about these occupations and the importance of what these workers do in their communities -- but, in the end, are we as viewers respecting these average Americans or gawking at them?