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 the stars of this Jackass-esque show are two adult Englishmen who challenge each other to physically and mentally grueling (but mostly just inane) tasks like making themselves sick, seeing who can gain the most weight, and attracting the most women. Content often includes partial nudity (a penis is visible in one scene of a man using the toilet), strong language, and alcohol and tobacco use. There aren't too many redeeming qualities to be found, so parents would be wise to skip it, even for teens (who might get some bad ideas from the on-screen duo).
What's the story?
In ED VS. SPENCER, self-proclaimed best friends (though their actions often imply otherwise) Ed Leigh and Spencer Claridge face off in challenges worthy of a Jackass salute. Some of their contests have included seeing who can make the most money in three days, who can survive the longest in the woods, and and who can become the most famous. Each episode follows the duo's battles in a new task, with each competitor employing his own arsenal of talents (and irritants) to throw the other off his game. Though their strategies are different -- Spencer relies on mental toughness and perseverance to outlast Ed's aggravating, annoying behavior -- the guys are similarly merciless in battle. For example, in one episode they were handcuffed together with no relief from each other's company until one gave up and unlocked the cuffs, thereby losing the game. They proceeded to engage in outright war, using noisemakers, flatulence, bathroom trips, a steam in the sauna, and even an electric shock machine to drive each other to concession.
Is it any good?
While it's likely that Ed and Spencer's ridiculous behavior will garner some laughs from adults (who hopefully can put the pair's childishness in perspective), this definitely isn't a family show. Strong language, relatively rough fighting, partial nudity, and overall juvenile behavior make it little more than a wasted 30 minutes that might give impressionable teens some iffy ideas -- hence the "don't try this at home" disclaimer that pre-empts each episode.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about competition and victory. What can you gain by setting a goal and working hard to achieve it? How does it feel to win? To lose? Why do some people say that it's not the winning that matters, but how you play the game? Do your kids agree with that? Why? Families can also discuss the limits of friendship. If a friend asked your kids to do something that might be harmful to themselves, what would they do? How might their response affect their relationship with that person? Are Ed and Spencer really each other's friends if they put each other through such stupid tasks?
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