A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Ask for help if you need it. Trustworthy people are safe people to be around. Standing up for yourself can be uncomfortable, but it's a key to personal freedom.
Positive Role Models
The people who have survived the schemes and cons have successfully stood for their rights. Law-abiding citizens helping each other in the face of con artists are inspirational. Diverse cast, some stereotyping ("I'm your Jewish grandmother," a manipulative con artist tells a mark).
Violence & Scariness
The violence in this show is violence of the mind, but the way it manifests is deeply disturbing to the victims.The goal of the con artist is mind control, which puts innocent people into subservient positions. Threats of violence, death threats, verbal abuse, physical danger, manipulation. Images of bludgeoning, blood splattering, threat of gun violence if someone doesn't follow orders. Sexual manipulation over the phone and on Skype. Women treated as objects.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man is asked to masturbate on Skype (not shown), a man is asked to say someone's name over the phone over and over while the person on the other end "gets off." Mind control veers into sexual manipulation ("Can you take sexy pictures of me?"). Underage girls are manipulated and controlled -- get so drunk they get naked (not shown).
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Periodic strong language includes: "a--hole," "d--k," "f-g," "f--k," "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
The goal of the con artist is to make money by using lies, manipulation and control, so the goods they can buy with that money gain a twisted importance to them.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Images of cocaine use, marijuana being smoked by high schooler (a close-up shot of a joint burning), beer and alcohol consumed, a main character chain smokes while being interviewed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Generation Hustle is a docuseries about people who lie, manipulate, and steal for a living. The heights of successful scams are glorified, if only because the images of excess are indulged. There are consequences for the behavior when the con artists go to jail or are exposed, but the lives they have ruined are numerous. Drug use, greed, sexual manipulation, mind control, and money-making scams are detailed.
Is It Any Good?
Compelling, creepy, and all too real, this documentary series spotlights moral slipperiness. In Generation Hustle, elaborate scams are outlined in their twisted glory. The effect is jaw-dropping at times. "If only they used this genius for good," is a mantra that's repeated throughout the series. And it's hard to look away once the victims begin to explain how the cons affected them. Stripped of their dignity, people are put in dangerous situations in foreign lands. Families are torn apart. And the sociopaths behind it all aren't phased.
At what point is the attention this show is paying to the cons playing into the mastermind's plan? Is this series helping the viewer understand? Or giving more power to people who will do anything to gain it? It's compelling stuff, because villainy is seductive, and this series ultimately capitalizes on that draw.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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