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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 half-hour reality series features memorable characters with a tendency toward salty language who illustrate science concepts as they explore the depths of their junkyard to help make things work. Other than the strong language, the show provides a great look at how science and engineering concepts are applied in day-to-day life by a wide range of people across many fields. The junkyard employees are also positive good models in that they maintain curiosity about the world and help others achieve their goals (which on this series are occasionally unusual).
What's the story?
Jimmy's Junk in Long Island, NY, is the singular location featured on JUNKIES, a reality series focused on the employees and day-to-day operations of a massive, crowded working junkyard. Owner Jimmy Ruocco spends his days helping a wide range of people solve their problems by finding just the right part or tool buried amid the mounds and mounds of metal in his yard. Everyone from high school students to outisder artists finds their way to the yard, and their projects are often featured as Jimmy's crew dig through the stacks -- and occasionally hit the streets -- to scare up that one last nut or bolt that will make an unlikely machine spring to life.
Is it any good?
There's something unexpectedly endearing about JUNKies. Maybe it's the fact that you can't fake real, and Ruocco and his crew are just real enough to cut through the usual reality show haze of clever editing and scripted confessionals. Maybe it's the frequent application of real science and engineering to outlandish projects, such as a centrifuge with a homemade jet engine on one end and a makeshift cockpit on the other. Or maybe it's the sense that you never know quite what Ruocco will pull out of the piles in his yard -- unspeakable mountains of metal scrap, everything from old store signs to beat-up cars.
Basically, this is a reality series in the same vein as American Chopper or Storage Wars, shows in which eccentric people are featured in the day-to-day of unusual careers. In this case, the career is genuinely interesting, and the eccentrics are likeable and watchable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of strong language on television. Does hearing salty talk make you more likely to do the same?
Did you learn anything about science from watching the show? If so, what -- and how can you use it in your daily life?
Do you think learning things from a TV show (or other form of media) is more or less memorable than learning them in class? Why?