G4's Proving Ground TV Poster Image

G4's Proving Ground



Clever movie-themed reality series marred by juvenile humor.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The hosts demonstrate a natural, positive curiosity about how movies are made and how special effects are executed. Science and creative engineering are depicted extensively as the show's crew attempts to emulate effects that have been shown on the silver screen.

Positive role models

The crew that works on the special effect reenactments may provide some positive examples of applying science knowledge to unusual problems. The show's hosts are especially poor role models for young people, with their predilection for hitting each other in the crotch and laughing about it hysterically.


The tone of the show is built around an appreciation for casual violence inflicted upon friends. This violence is most often directed at the male genitalia. The hosts and crew are constantly hitting each other and then laughing robustly at the reaction to the violence. The objects created for the show's tests of movie special effects are also inevitably used to attack cast and crew.

Not applicable

Frequent use of "damn," "hell," and "ass"; words such as "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped. Occasional use of "Jesus Christ" as an expletive.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Jessica Chobot, Ryan Dunn
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byreviews you read August 21, 2011

ass kicking entertainmant

language is an issue but funny show
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism


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