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 series -- which looks at the meaning of tattoos worn by gang members, prisoners, and other non-mainstream groups -- includes some interesting information, but most of the content is too intense for young kids. Expect lots of violent references, including stories and images of physical assaults (though no blood is shown). There's also some strong language, with the stronger terms bleeped out -- but tattoos containing words like the "N" word and other racial epithets are clearly visible. Some tattoos have images of naked women; one episode contains a very brief and blurry image of male backsides.
What's the story?
MARKED explores the meanings behind the various tattoos of people from various outlying groups in contemporary society. Members of modern-day clans -- like urban gangs, motorcycle clubs, and prisoners -- share their stories how they earned their marks and what the marks mean to them. Interviews with professional tattoo artists and other experts round out the stories by revealing the history behind the images and the techniques used to create them.
Is it any good?
Marked highlights the fact that the featured groups possess their own cultural characteristics -- even though they're usually considered frightening “outsiders” by mainstream society. It demystifies some of these groups’ identifying symbols, rituals, and traditions, while allowing their members to share their pride in what makes their group unique.
But while they have cultural significance, most of the personal stories shared in the series don't have many positive or kid-friendly messages. Many of the rituals described and/or shown here are extremely violent, and many of the tattoos proudly worn by some of the inverviewees boast of assaults and/or murders or include racial epithets. All of that said, mature viewers interested in tattoo culture will definitely find something here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about tattoo-centric TV. Do you think the popularity of tattoo-oriented reality shows like Inked has made getting tattoos a more popular or acceptable practice? Why or why not?
What cultures used markings as part of their daily practices throughout history? What did they mean? What cultures and/or communities incorporate tattoos into their cultural practices today?
Do you know anyone who has a tattoo? Why did they get it? Does it hold a special significance? What are the drawbacks of getting a tattoo?