Guinea Pig

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Guinea Pig TV Poster Image
Pain and suffering in the name of science. Ouch.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Though Stock says he's willing to endure this punishment in the name of science, it might make viewers wonder whether there's really a scientific need for any person to suffer so much -- and whether there's actual entertainment value in watching it.

Violence

No fighting, beatings, or conflict, but Stock sure suffers a lot of abuse. The basic premise is that he tries to test the limits of the human body by letting himself get stung by scorpions, sprayed in the face with pepper spray, and any other painful experiment he can devise. His reactions range from uncomfortable to obvious agony, and it can be disconcerting to watch.

Sex

No sex, but host Stock sometimes strips to his underwear to show off the nasty bruises and welts he collects during his research.

Language

Despite the amazing abuse heaped on Stock, "Oh man!" is about as profane as he gets.

Consumerism

Some of the painful devices used on Stock are mentioned by name, such as pepper spray or Tasers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality/science show is all about pain. It's not particularly violent; typically, star Ryan Stock just stands there and takes the abuse, whether he's letting a scorpion sting him or a cop douse him in the face and eyes with pepper spray. That's the whole point of the show: for him to suffer and endure an increasingly dangerous array of excruciating attacks. He's clearly in agony at times, and by the end of each episode, his body may be marked by bruises and welts as he limps off to recover for next time. Parents should also remind kids not to try similar experiments on their own (though, frankly, most probably won't want to, given how painful they look).

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What's the story?

Let's hope Ryan Stock gets paid well, because he must have one of the worst jobs on TV. In GUINEA PIG, the stunt man/former circus performer volunteers to test the limits of the human body \"in the name of science.\" That may sound high-minded, but what it really amounts to is watching him get abused in a variety of very painful ways, from getting doused with pepper spray to being shot by a Taser. Over and over, he permits terrible things to happen to himself, just to see how much it hurts and whether he can get up and walk away. Some of these experiments don't seem to bother him very much, while others clearly hurt a lot; by the end of each episode, he's usually not walking all that well.

Is it any good?

The show comes with a standard disclosure, pointing out that the experiments are extremely dangerous and shouldn't be imitated. The producers shouldn't worry. Unlike the stunts on Jackass, none of Stock's tricks look even remotely fun, and it's hard to imagine that any viewers will want to follow in his footsteps.

In fact, it begs the question: Why does Stock want to do this? What does he get out of intentionally mistreating his body? For that matter, it's not clear what the viewer gets out of it either. There's not much action, just a lot of pain and shock value. The novelty wears off quickly, but the discomfort of watching Stock try to break himself lingers -- much like the welts and bruises on his body.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what this show is offering. Is there really value in Stock's experiments? Do viewers learn anything useful or helpful from watching him suffer? And is that entertaining in the first place? Why or why not? Why are people interested in watching others suffers? Do you think Stock ever goes too far?

TV details

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