TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Inked TV Poster Image
Edgy tattoo parlor exploits are iffy for kids.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Shows people doing jobs that they take seriously and enjoy. But some regulars exhibit poor role model behavior, like driving too fast and procrastinating.


Tattoo needles are seen piercing skin, but there's no blood.


Some blurred nudity during tattoo application, as well as tight/skimpy clothing. Heavy flirting, hugging, talk about sex and attraction.


Regular bleeped profanity.


Promotes Hart & Huntington shop and Carey Hart as a professional athlete.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional episodes include stories about drug addiction. Some social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality show takes place in a tattoo parlor, so if you don't want your kids to be fascinated by body art, this isn't for them. (That said, it might be a reality check for anyone who wants a tattoo: The needle is visible, and clients sometimes wince in pain during the process.) Breasts, rear ends, and other sensitive areas appear, though key areas are blurred onscreen. Expect some skimpy outfits and innuendo-laden conversations; some tattoo artists also speak frankly about sex and the pursuit of sex, as well as their general admiration of bodies. Parlor workers flirt, date, play, and argue with one another regularly; some indulge in reckless behavior.

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What's the story?

Tattoo shop-based reality show INKED revolves around life at the Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company shop in Las Vegas, which is co-owned by motocross athlete Carey Hart and frequented by celebrities and showgirls (oh, and some regular folks, too). Each episode focuses on the shop's clients and their tattoos, as well as the parlor's inner workings. Some clients have interesting or heartwrenching stories behind their tattoo concepts -- one client commissions tattoos for her prosthetic leg, another gets a tattoo to mark the end of a painful divorce, and a third gets one after a struggle with addiction. Meanwhile, the shop's employees vary in likeability and aren't always great role models. For example, the co-owner who works on the prosthetic leg design promises that he'll be done in two days, but it ends up taking him several months due to equipment problems ... and procrastination; during one of his time-killing moments, he takes a show car out for a spin and ends up wrecking it.

Is it any good?

Viewers might find certain "characters" in the shop interesting and even admire their creativity. But overall Inked feels superficial and, even with its emphasis on personal relationships, can err on the side of dull -- which is not what you'd necessarily expect from a tattoo shop.

With a tendency to focus on barely clad young women looking for tattoos of Playboy bunnies or snakes and daggers, the show also feels a bit misogynistic. Male tattoo artists often flirt heavily with their female clients, and plenty of sexual innuendo flies between the two groups. One artist talks frankly about liking sex and being in the business in order to meet women (and, presumably, to have sex with them).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about tattoos. What are parents' and kids' opinions on tattoos? If they differ, why? Do people's opinions about body art tend to change as they get older? Why? What stereotypes are associated with tattoos and body art? Does the media reinforce those stereotypes? How? Why is getting a piece of body art a big decision? What are some of the risks in tattooing? What do you know about the history of the art? If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be, and why?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 20, 2005
  • Cast: Carey Hart
  • Network: A&E
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: NR
  • Available on: DVD
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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