Dirty Jobs

Common Sense Media says

Ick and shtick will appeal to older tweens and up.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series pays tribute to everyday Americans who work the jobs no one wants. It underscores the importance of doing your job well and with enthusiasm, whatever it is.

Positive role models

Rowe has a sense of humor, but treats the folks he meets with respect.


Discussion of pigs "meeting their maker" while feeding them slops to fatten them up.


Various jokes and bad-pun-style innuendo (for example, when pressboard wood is suspended for staining, Mike comments that they're all "well hung").One episode features semen being extracted from stallions (with some associated remarks).


Mutterings when frustrated, including "son of a bitch," "stupid job," "sucks," and ocassional bleeped words.


Mentions stage shows while visiting Las Vegas; aware of products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Pokes fun at pigs who get drunk from eating fermented ice cream.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Mike Rowe
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Dirty Jobs was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

fine show

it's ultra gross, but it's interesting.
Teen, 14 years old Written bycoocoopachu April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Great Show!

I love Dirty Jobs, but Rowe does use adult language sometimes and some innuendo (like when he was a pig inseminator), but apart from that, it's a great (sorta gross) show.


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