Most Popular

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Most Popular TV Poster Image
So-so social experiment tests truths about popularity.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The positive message is loud and clear: People are worth getting to know if you take the time to look past outward appearances. Although earlier rounds tend to focus on superficial factors for dismissal ("She sort of had that goth look ... if i was standing next to her in line at a store, she might give me the evil eye or even like punch me"), as the game progresses, the audience takes a variety of factors into consideration. One woman is cut, for instance, because she "didn't seem like she could make decisions for herself."

Positive Role Models & Representations

As the rounds progress, the general pattern is for those with negative traits to get booted from the competition and those with positive tendencies to stay in -- although there are always a few exceptions. Most women aim for honesty instead of perfection, so they admit to making mistakes they aren't proud of. But, sometimes, those mistakes include major ethical blunders -- ike stealing or lying to a loved one.


There isn't constant sexual innuendo, but some questions do center on sex, either in the context of a committed relationship or adultery -- or both. (For example, if you woke up the morning after your bachelorette party next to a stranger and weren't sure whether you slept with him or not, would you tell anyone?) One contestant describes witnessing a violent rape outside her window that prompted her to call the police, and another is revealed to be transgendered.


"Suck" and "pissed" are about as strong as it gets, and even those words are rare. There's also some use of descriptive terms like "boughetto" (a blend of "bourgeoise" and "ghetto").


Some cross-promotion with other WE brands, including the reality show Bridezillas.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some contestants mention incidents involving alcohol, usually in the context of consuming too much and regretting it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game show is aimed squarely at adult women -- but that doesn't mean that parents can't watch with their teens. It might even ignite some revealing conversations about the concept of popularity and what types of qualities make women "likable." Conversatons occasionally touch on cheeky topics like sex tapes or random hook-ups, but for the most part, women answer less-scintillating questions about religion/spirituality, community service, and self-esteem. Language, alcohol, and drugs are essentially non-issues.

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What's the story?

In MOST POPULAR, seven women put themselves on stage to be judged by an audience of 100 other women, who vote to axe their least-favorite contestants after increasingly revealing rounds of questioning. British television personality Graham Norton stands in as host and helps audience members make their next round of cuts by putting contestants through a series of question-and-answer challenges. The last woman standing has the chance to win up to $10,000.

Is it any good?

While the show's concept is certainly provocative, Most Popular loses something in the mix. Perhaps it's the set and the lighting, which conjure the feel of a downmarket talk show (think Maury or Jerry Springer, minus the hand-to-hand combat). Or perhaps it's the contestants themselves, some of whom seem like they could easily hold their own on one of the previously mentioned talk shows if this gig doesn't work out.

Whatever the reason, Most Popular is the kind of show that's reasonably entertaining if there's nothing else on. And it does imparts an important take-away message: Don't judge a book by its cover. Still, for most, it will never be appointment television.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how stereotypes play into the popularity game. Have you ever made a snap judgement about someone based on the way they were dressed, the color of their skin, or whether they had a tattoo?

  • Why do you think some people are more popular than others? Do wealth, beauty, intelligence, or humor matter when it comes to making friends? What traits do you think are the most important? Is there a set "formula" that can guarantee you'll be liked?

  • Does the concept of popularity change as you pass from middle school into high school and then on to college and adulthood? Are tweens and teens more concerned with popularity than their parents?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 23, 2009
  • Cast: Graham Norton
  • Network: WE
  • Genre: Game Shows
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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