TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
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Large blended family faces financial challenges as a team.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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

Positive Messages

Shows how a family facing tough economic times can make changes and sacrifices to continue living a good life and support each other. It also underscores the idea that no one is immune to financial hardship. Subtle references to religion.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The family works together to find ways to financially survive. Some of the kids are jealous of their step-siblings’ access to luxuries through their other parent.


Todd is sometimes seen shirtless.


Words like “bitch,” “crap,” and “piss” are often used by the parents and the kids.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series features a large upper class blended family that has suddenly gone broke thanks to the economic recession. It contains some salty language (“bitch,” “crap,” “piss”), but overall offers positive messages about family and living more with less. Parents may want to watch with their kids to initiate discussions about the importance of monitoring spending, saving, and to address any anxieties about their family’s financial situation. 

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Teen, 13 years old Written byVeronique148 September 28, 2012

I can relate to this.

I can relate to this family alot! Me and My family went through very HARD financial times in 2008.It was hard to get by but it wasn't to a point where I ha... Continue reading

What's the story?

DOWNSIZED chronicles the journey of a large blended family suddenly coping with economic hardship. It stars Laura and Todd Bruce, a first-grade teacher and a general contractor in Phoenix, Arizona, who are struggling to support their seven children after the collapse of Todd’s construction business. The family must adjust to the loss of their lavish upper-class lifestyle, the bank foreclosure on their two homes, and living on food stamps. While they struggle to pay the bills, they also face the typical challenges that come when two families combine. It isn’t easy, but together they look for ways to cut their expenses and make money while learning to appreciate what they have, and each other.

Is it any good?

The reality doc features the Bruces as an example of how easily a family can go from financial wealth to financial ruin from one day to the next during difficult economic times. It also highlights some of the strong emotions that people who are suddenly facing poverty experience, including embarrassment, resentment, and fear.

It isn’t easy to watch children selling off their prized possessions or rummaging through dumpsters for recyclables to make enough money to keep a roof over their heads. But these folks show us that it is possible to live with less, and to have a positive attitude while doing it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about ways that they can cut back spending and be financially healthy. Should people be inspired by a bad economy to save money? Kids: What are some of your concerns when it comes to money and your family’s economic situation? Parents: How will you address these concerns?

  • How does the media contribute to our spending habits?

TV details

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