Parents' Guide to

Freaky Eaters

By Anne Louise Bannon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Show about eating disorders is tame but not meant for kids.

TV TLC Reality TV 2010
Freaky Eaters Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 10+

Can instill empathy

Food issues are prevalent and there are plenty of unhealthy judgments toward people who have challenges with eating. This would be helpful to watch with friends or family you are concerned about. Children and young adults may learn to empathize and gain awareness cues. Recommend to individualize appropriateness with children. Content contains "shock therapy" and seems as if issues can be miraculously fixed in a short period of time. Food phobias and tactile difficulties are more complicated so the timeliness of "fixing" the issues will be varied and not happen over night.
age 17+

The Food's Fine, But Not Great

As a lover of all things psychological, I am drawn to this show, but be warned that it is for adults and mature teens only, for several reasons. The fact that the people featured literally live on one food is not a positive message for children, particularly since those foods are often junk, like French fries, pizza, or burgers. Some featured guests have tragic stories as to how and why they have become addicted to this one food. Vomiting and other ill effects can be shown, and the show's hosts, particularly nutritionist J.J. Virgen, are not above using scare tactics to get guests to change their habits. These can include graves with the guests' names on them or big coffins filled with what the guests will never get to do or see if they do not stop eating this food. My concern is that children would either take this show as a license to be overly picky, or become frightened that they will die horrible deaths if they ever touch a candy bar again. Besides that, the show sends the message that such entrenched eating disorders as the guests have can be "fixed" in a short time. This is not only untrue, but paints an unrealistic and possibly dangerous picture of eating disorders of any kind. Only watch if you're an adult and a discerning foodie.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

The good news about Freaky Eaters is that it's only a half hour long. And the bad news is that it's only a half hour long. So while it moves briskly, it also seems like the "cure" develops too quickly to be believed. For example, during a talk therapy session, the therapist presses the patient to look at his relationship with his sport and his mother; seconds into it, the patient says that he keenly felt his mother's disapproval. It probably usually takes a few weeks of therapy to get that far (and do people really complain about their mother's disapproval in those words?).

In short, Freaky Eaters makes it seem like a seriously messed-up individual can turn his or her life around with a minimum of fuss and time. Hopeful, yes, but realistic? Maybe not so much.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: September 5, 2010
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: February 25, 2022

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