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 British reality series -- in which a group of people live in a landfill and sustain themselves using trash -- has a strong pro-recycling message. While there's a cash prize for those who make it until the end, the focus is really on the lessons the participants are learning about living a greener life. While there's some pretty strong language for this type of series (words like "damn," "hell," and "s--t" are unbleeped, though the frequent use of "f--k" is censored) and some arguing, overall the show is both thoughtful and educational.
What's the story?
DUMPED was designed to force Brits to confront their country's growing waste problem. A group of men and women are sent to live on a landfill in Croyden, England, for three weeks, where they must build a sustainable life from what people have thrown away. The 11 volunteers, many of whom admittedly don't live eco-friendly lifestyles, have to use what they find among the garbage creatively. Eco-design expert Rob Holdway monitors their progress and asks them to think about trash as a valued resource that can be recycled and reused. He also reminds them that while they can they can leave at any time, those who stay until the end will split a £40,000 (about $20,000) prize.
Is it any good?
The gang of dump-dwellers, all of whom were expecting to be shipped off to an exotic location for their mission, work together gamely to make the best of their surroundings. Even though they're given hot water, soap, and a limited food supply, they must help each other to avoid getting hurt or -- worse -- bitten by rats and seagulls while scavenging for useful items. They also have to be careful not to get sick. Not surprisingly, living with each other in such dreadful conditions takes its toll; insults and profanity (the BBC doesn't bleep "s--t," though "f--k" is censored) fly as they disagree about how best to survive their time there.
But despite the participants' arguments and strong language, this thoughtful series aims to teach viewers about what everyone can do to protect the environment. Although the show takes place in England, it offers a very concrete example of recycling's -- or, in this case, the lack thereof -- massive impact on the planet. It also highlights the idea that helping the environment begins at home, and that you don't have to travel far away to make a difference. Most importantly, it shows how individuals can make positive steps toward making the world a cleaner place.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about environmental issues. Do you think shows like this one make environmental problems more relatable and realistic for viewers? Is that television's job/responsibility? Families can also discuss recycling. What are the benefits of recycling? Are there any drawbacks? Do you think the recycling efforts of one person or a few people can have an impact on the planet?