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 ocean adventure reality series features extreme fishermen engaging in some dangerous stunts. Viewers are warned (and rightly so) that they should never try these stunts themselves, but the show sends some problematic messages about taking unnecessary risks when engaging animals. The fishermen use lots of strong language (“crap,” “piss, “hell”; “f--k,” and “s--t” are “bleeped”), some mild sexual innuendo, and a few blurred images of men’s partially exposed buttocks. Some viewers might find the images of sharks attacking decoys and fishermen wrestling with large sea creatures disturbing.
What's the story?
MADMAN OF THE SEA is a reality series featuring pro-fisherman Matt Watson as he goes out on extreme fishing expeditions and videotapes some of his crew's dangerous work and crazy stunts. It pieces together video footage that the New Zealander and his team have collected over the past five years highlighting events like tagging swordfish by hand, tying bait to Watson’s body before jumping into shark-infested waters, and nighttime underwater filming sessions in dangerous bull shark hunting areas. Trivia questions about fish species, interesting catches, and other fish-related stories pop up between scenes.
Is it any good?
The series combines some of the excitement of shows like Deadliest Catch with some of the over-the-top stunts featured on Whacked Out Videos. While much of what Watson and his team do is in the name of science, they often put themselves in needlessly risky situations to create some good TV moments.
Watson openly advocates revering the ocean and respecting the fish that live in it. These are positive messages, but Watson’s cheers while sharks attack decoys and/or potentially dangerous sea creatures chase camera people often overshadow them. Overall, it’s entertaining for folks who like this kind of thing, but it’s socially irresponsible on many levels.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why people engage in extreme sports and/or adventures. What is the appeal? What are the risks? Do you think the risks that Watson takes are in the name of sport and/or science, or is it for entertainment purposes? Do you think that what he does helps people learn more about the ocean’s inhabitants? Why or why not?
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