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 science reality series takes a juvenile approach to its subject matter with questionable language ("ass," plus bleeped "s--t" and f"--k") and behavior by the hosts throughout. Friends and colleagues frequently engage in a physical play that involves real pain and potential injury (lots of crotch shots). There is some positive content in terms of a creative use of science and a close examination of how movie magic is created, but it's almost completely nullified by the show's tone.
What's the story?
At some point, everyone has watched a movie with amazing special effects and wondered, "How did they do that?" G4's PROVING GROUND asks that question about a number of classic films, from Goonies to Star Wars. Each episode focuses on a specific film and enlists scientists and engineers to determine how inexplicable acts were created on the screen. After the effects are recreated, hosts Ryan Dunn and Jessica Chobot enlist crew members to test out the prop, whether it causes injury or not.
Is it any good?
G4's Proving Ground is a good example of a show with a great premise but poor execution. While there have been several science reality series on the airwaves in the wake of the successful Mythbusters, Proving Ground finds a unique variation on the genre with its focus on how amazing special effects were done on screen. Even when focusing on a movie with minor practical effects such as Goonies, the way in which it explores the engineering behind the effects is interesting.
If only there were more exploration and less pointless violence. Host Ryan Dunn is best known for his appearances on the MTV series Jackass, and the show's tone and action is peppered with faux-Jackass humor, focusing almost exclusively on cast and crew being hit in the crotch. Countless shots are interrupted by random acts of violence, greeted with howls of laughter from the crew. It detracts significantly from what could otherwise be a great series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's attitude toward violence with friends. Is it okay to physically play around with friends, even if they think it's okay? Why or why not? How do you know when you've gone too far?
One of the hosts of this series, Ryan Dunn, died in a drunk-driving accident shortly after this show premiered. Does that have any impact on how you view the show? Why or why not?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love science
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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