L.A. Hard Hats

TV review by
Anne Louise Bannon, Common Sense Media
L.A. Hard Hats TV Poster Image
Eco-friendly building rises, one job at a time.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The people featured in the show work hard and diligently at their jobs, and the show promotes eco-friendly messages as it follows the construction of a green building. That said, these folks aren't a particularly diverse bunch (which says more about the nature of the construction trade than it does about anything else) -- they're primarily Caucasian men.

Violence & Scariness

The show includes news clips of the aftermath of deadly accidents, but viewers don't see any actually happening.

Sexy Stuff

Words like "ass," "screwed," and "piss" are audible. Stronger words are silenced, which is less noticeable than if they were bleeped.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this docuseries about L.A. construction workers putting up an eco-friendly high rise is pretty tame, content-wise. That said, there is some salty language ("ass," "screwed," etc.), and the people featured in the show aren't a particularly diverse group, which isn't a very accurate representation of the Los Angeles area (where the show was filmed).

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What's the story?

Each episode of L.A. HARD HATS focuses on a different group of workers as they build an eco-friendly 23-story building over the course of almost two years in Los Angeles, Calif. Each trade -- from the iron workers who install the rebar to the folks pouring the concrete to the plumbers, the electricians, and the glass installers -- are featured in their respective episodes, cameras rolling as they do their job from start to finish.

Is it any good?

It is, without question, fascinating to see what goes into building a high-rise these days. While viewers don't get too much of a sense of who the workers themselves are, the work itself is incredible. But there are a couple of minor quibbles. On one hand, it's nice that the directors don't beat viewers over the head with the "green" thing. But since the whole point of this particular building is to be built as eco-friendly as possible, you'd think you'd hear more about it than the occasional reference (like mentioning that rebar is among the greener building materials, since it's made almost exclusively from recycled materials).

Also, there's a tendency to answer obvious questions -- like why concrete and rebar are being used instead of steel I-beams -- in tiny comments here and there, which leaves viewers hanging a little too often. But ultimately there's more here of interest than not, and it is kind of cool to know what goes into making a building happen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the different ways a story can be told. Each hour of this show focuses on a different trade, following the workers' job from the beginning of their efforts to the end. How would the story have been different if it had been shown straight through from the beginning of the project to the end? Also, what messages is this show sending? Who do you think its target audience is?

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