How To Be Behzinga

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
How To Be Behzinga TV Poster Image
Positive YouTube docu addresses mental and physical health.

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

Stands out for positive messages.

Positive Messages

The series addresses how it's possible to turn one’s life around if they make better lifestyle choices. It also underscores the importance of good mental health, and finding support, when necessary. There are discussions about his difficult childhood, including child behavioral issues, divorce, and illness, but those highlight the positive outcomes. 

Positive Role Models

Ethan Payne has had his share of problems, but now chooses to make better decisions and reach out to help others. Sidemen consists of seven young men, some of whom are of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. 

Violence

There are discussions about bullying, and examples of cyberbullying is shown. Suicide is also discussed. Conversations are also had about being a troublemaker as a child. Featured challenges include things like pulling a fire engine with a rope, and walking on hot coals (all of which are supervised). One fitness expert travels in a tank and blows things up. Being diagnosed with and beating cancer is also talked about. 

Sex
Language

Most curses (usually uttered while working out) are bleeped and mouths are blurred, but on occasion the word "s--t" is audible. 

Consumerism

Ethan and the Sidemen often wear clothing with the Sidemen and YouTube logo on it. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol and cigarettes are visible in one episode, and are characterized as a negative thing. Alcohol abuse is discussed and the drug addiction of a parent is referenced. Taking antidepressants is discussed. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that How To Be Behzinga is an autobiographical three-part YouTube documentary about the emotional weight loss and mental wellness journey of British video gamer Ethan Payne as he prepares to run the 2020 London Marathon during the COVID pandemic. It contains lots of positive messages about making healthy lifestyle changes, the importance of good mental health, and the need for supportive family and friends. It also discusses subjects like depression, cyberbullying, addiction, and suicide.There are images of alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking, too. Most cursing is bleeped (mouths are blurred) but on occasion the word "s--t" is audible. Logos for YouTube and Sidemen are visible on clothing. On occasion, there are some physical challenges featured that should not be tried at home. 

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What's the story?

HOW TO BE BEHZINGA is a YouTube Originals documentary featuring YouTube celeb Ethan Payne, a.k.a. Behzinga, as he prepares to run the April 2020 London Marathon. Payne, one of the seven members of the popular YouTube group Sidemen, spent his teens and early adulthood struggling with his weight and mental health. After making the decision to live a healthier lifestyle and shedding over 50 pounds, he is now an endurance athlete. When asked to run the 2020 London Marathon in support of the the British charity, Teenage Cancer Trust, he happily commited himself to training for the race.

But when the COVID pandemic cuts his training short and the marathon is postponed, he wonders if it’s ever going to happen. Luckily, he receives lots of encouragement, and with the help of his trainers and other fitness experts he participates in challenges designed to keep him mentally and physically fit for the race. Throughout it all, Ethan, along with his mother Ruth, and other members of the Sidemen tribe, talk about the challenges he’s faced growing up, his mental health, and what it's taken to turn himself around. 

Is it any good?

This positive series features a young man who found the courage and strength to turn his life around by making healthier choices and improving his mental wellbeing. Ethan Payne and his mother talk frankly about his troubled youth, his weight gain, and how he struggled with depression and alcohol dependency while maintaining his upbeat YouTube persona. His fellow Sidemen also discuss the frustrations they faced when being unable to help him. 

These aren’t lighthearted conversations, but they successfully highlight how much Ethan has overcome. Meanwhile, the training challenges he participates in, although a little over-the-top, are designed to highlight how it's possible to develop the inner-strength and positive mindset needed to accomplish great things. But it is Ethan’s honesty and openness about his personal journey that makes How To Be: Behzinga humanizing. And it’s the willingness of Ethan’s friends to express their genuine love and pride for him that makes it heartwarming. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of mental wellness. Why is good mental health essential for healthy living? Why are there social stigmas attached to getting help? Do media depictions of mental illness or the mentally ill challenge or reinforce these attitudes?

  • Through How To Be Behzinga, Ethan Payne uses social media to share how he overcame some of the personal challenges he faced over the years. Is this a good way to share his message? What kind of impact can his story potentially have on his fans? Is there also a promotional aspect to what he is doing?

TV details

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