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 documentary-style series shows people doing hazardous jobs. The host and others climb tall towers, exterminate dangerous pests, handle deadly equipment, and more (happily, it all takes place while taking safety precautions). Some of the jobs -- like working in a pit crew -- are exciting, and parents may need to remind younger viewers not to try anything they see on the show at home. The host curses fairly regularly when he's scared or surprised, but the words are bleeped and usually undistinguishable.
What's the story?
Much like its companion show Dirty Jobs, HAZARD PAY sends a likeable, reasonably fit, but somewhat average guy into extreme situations to give viewers a vicarious thrill. In one episode, for example, host Curt Doussett worked with a radio-tower climber to help fix a gas leak at the very top of the 1200-foot structure. The climber outlined the hazards associated with the job -- lightning, tower collapse, radiation poisoning, and falling -- and Dousett learned about the mechanics of the job. During the process, facts about the job appeared onscreen, including the average salary and the number of injuries and deaths per year associated with the profession. As he began his climb, which ultimately took several hours, Doussett narrated his physical sensations, including burning lungs, stinging eyes, and chafed palms.
Is it any good?
As Doussett undertakes everything from killer-bee removals to bike messenger work (always under the watchful eye of experienced workers), he narrates his experiences for the camera with easy humor ... and the occasional bleeped expletive. He presents himself as a family guy with three kids and a minivan -- giving viewers the sense that he's just like them. He then suits up for adventure, ready to meet the given day's challenge.
As with any show detailing dangerous excursions, the risk of Hazard Pay for younger viewers is that they'll try to mimic what they see on the screen. In most cases, the nature of these jobs makes it difficult to imagine kids copying them. But parents might want to emphasize that these tasks are done by experts for a reason. The show does a good job of outlining all of the risks, and Doussett doesn't shy away from showing fear when he's in truly dangerous situations, but the audience is clearly meant to admire him for taking these risks -- and that's what parents will want to watch out for.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what this series is trying to accomplish. Is it just to thrill viewers, or is there a message here about the people and jobs being profiled? How is this show similar to and different from Dirty Jobs? Which one has more of an impact on you, and why? Families can also discuss the potential hazards in their own jobs. What could go wrong in the course of a parent's work day? If teens have jobs, what do they need to be careful of? What kind of training do parents and/or teens get in order to stay safe on the job? Does a high salary make taking riskier jobs worth it?