Madhouse

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Madhouse TV Poster Image
Car racing reality show features unsportsmanlike behavior.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The series portrays unsportsmanlike behavior as an accepted part of the overall racing culture.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The drivers have a passion for racing, but they're often not good sports -- either on or off the racetrack. Not much diversity within the featured group of racers and the people who surround them.

Violence

An historic family rivalry between racing teams results in arguing, insults, threats, pushing, shoving, and punching. Races often end in violent crashes. One race ends with a driver purposely ramming his car into a rival’s vehicle multiple times.

Sex
Language

Words like “bitch” are audible, while words like “ass” and “s--t” are bleeped. The term “redneck” is used frequently. Small children are seen yelling insults and jeers about racers, and spectators are shown making lewd gestures to drivers.

Consumerism

Cars and driver uniforms often sport labels from local establishments, like a Toyota car dealership.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this NASCAR-focused reality series is likely to appeal to kids who like cars and racing, but the show’s emphasis on the rivalries between the drivers makes for some iffy content. The drivers engage in unsportsmanlike behavior -- including hurling insults, punching each other, and purposely ramming other drivers' cars -- and the language is pretty strong, too (“bitch” is audible, while curses like “s--t” and “f--k” are bleeped).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bygmhale March 23, 2010
I love the way it shows real life. You have to work hard and have a good family to compete.
Parent of a 15 year old Written bymrfilter2u March 17, 2010

Real Racing

I go every Saturday night when the season is in and it is ten times more fun than nascar. They actually let them race a Bowman Gray. If you don't like Bo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byskoot February 22, 2010

probly for 6,7,8 or older kids

I love this she and im really am 12 years old. My Uncle Bob races at uticarome speedway in ny vernon and they only say a*s or like h*ll or dam its a good show i... Continue reading

What's the story?

MADHOUSE follows four NASCAR modified racecar drivers -- Tim Brown, Chris Fleming, Junior Miller, and Burt Meyers -- during a summer racing season at North Carolina’s Bowman Gray Stadium. In each episode, the drivers and their friends and families spend endless hours and thousands of dollars optimizing and repairing their cars in preparation for that week’s race. In between working in the garage and driving laps around the track, they struggle to earn the money to finance their participation in the sport. Meanwhile, the drivers also spend time talking up the historic and volatile rivalries that exist between them and their families.

Is it any good?

Madhouse looks at NASCAR racing from the perspective of people who are extremely passionate about the sport. It offers some explanation about what goes into modified racecars to improve their speed and handling on the racetrack and looks at race rules and procedures.

While the show does provide some insight into the NASCAR racing culture, the drivers spend too much time fueling the rivalries that exist between some of the racing families. Insults and threats are frequent, and accusations of “playing dirty” lead to fistfights, brawls, and arrests. Kids who like cars and racing will be drawn to the show, but it doesn’t send very positive messages about the sport and/or sportsmanship in general.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sportsmanship. What does it mean to be a good sport? Does athletes' sportsmanship impact the way that sports are played? How does it impact the way a sport (and the athletes who play it) are viewed in the media?

  • What are some of the stereotypes associated with NASCAR driving/drivers? Does the media perpetuate these stereotypes? How? What about this show specifically?

TV details

For kids who love reality TV

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate