Life with La Toya

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Life with La Toya TV Poster Image
Publicity ploy disguised as comeback story; mature topics.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Most of the show focuses on La Toya's attempts at reconciling with her troubled past and discussing Jackson family drama.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite claims of being free from her past, she spends a lot of time talking and getting emotional about it.


Jackson accuses her ex-manager/husband of abusing her; tabloid pictures show her with bruises. Allegations are made about his ties to the mafia. The death of Michael Jackson and the alleged kidnapping of her mother, Katherine Jackson, by family members is also discussed.


Tabloid images feature La Toya on Playboy magazine covers; she alleges that her ex-manager/husband wanted her to go into the porn industry. Virginity is discussed.


Jackson's company, Ja-Tail enterprises is prominently featured. High-end brands like Rolls-Royce, Louis Vuitton, and others are visible. Covers of magazines like Playboy and various tabloids are visible. Occasionally candy items like Hot Tamales and Good-n-Plenty are discussed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Champagne is frequently shown. Drug addiction is also discussed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids may be drawn to Life with La Toya thanks to its focus on some famous members of the Jackson clan, (including the late Michael Jackson), but exploitative conversations M.J.'s death, family strife, and the show's decidedly adult themes (like domestic violence, pornography, sexual acts, etc.) make it too mature for young viewers. Alcohol consumption (wine, champagne) is visible, and drug addiction is discussed. The show is promotional vehicle for Jackson's Ja-Tail Enterprises; magazine covers for Playboy and tabloid publications are also shown.

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What's the story?

LIFE WITH LA TOYA is a reality series produced by and starring La Toya Jackson, the fifth child of the famous Jackson family. Now single and the CEO of her company, Ja-Tail Enterprises, La Toya is determined to live life on her own terms, without the influence of her famous family and away from the legacy left behind by her troubled marriage to her late manager/husband, Jack Gordon. Encouraging her along the way is her best friend and co-CEO Jeffré Phillips, and childhood friend Kathy Hilton (best known for being celeb Paris Hilton's mom). She also spends time with her dog Prince, mother Katherine, and other family members. As she looks to try new things and go on new adventures, she also tells her side of the many tabloid stories about her past, her late husband, and her famous family, including her late brother Michael.

Is it any good?

Life With La Toya is a stylized TV version of a tell-all book that uses dramatically scripted moments to address the many tabloid rumors and public events that have surrounded the Jackson family over the years. Seemingly personal conversations with family members, including her controversial father Joe and her late brother Michael's children, only adds the exploitative nature of the show.

Despite claims of feeling more empowered, La Toya's discussions about her troubled past often make her sound more like a victim than someone who has worked hard to overcome adversity. She also appears disconnected from the real world thanks to her opulent lifestyle and quirky habits. There is no shortage of voyeuristic moments here, and no doubt that curious Jackson fans will want to get the scoop on some of the family's most controversial moments. But the overall show falls short of offering anything inspiring.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reasons people appear on reality shows. Why do think celebrities and their families appear on them? It it for fame? The money? Something else?

  • Do you think these types of shows are an appropriate format for discussing personal issues? What do you think La Toya Jackson is trying to accomplish by appearing on this show?

  • Who decides whether a show like this gets on air? What are the benefits to a network or producer of creating a show like this instead of a more creative, in-depth series?

TV details

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