Parents' Guide to

On the Road in America

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Road trip seeks out tolerance and understanding.

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Because the series was filmed during the 2006 conflict between Israel and Lebanon, the cast is shown trying to understand the United States and its citizens while also coping with the events taking place in their region of the world. These moments lead to some profound and often frustrated conversations about the American media, Israelis, and communities that the members of the group believe are contributing to the escalating violence. While some of these discussions cast the United States in a rather negative light, they also provide an opportunity for viewers to hear some honest opinions about Americans and American policy in the Middle East from people who live there. Even more important is that the Muslim cast humanizes a religious group that has been frequently vilified by the American media, particularly after 9/11.

Unlike most reality series, the producers of On the Road in America appear on camera and are completely open about what they're trying to accomplish in each episode. Not surprisingly, some of the footage features the production staff struggling with the cast members -- some of whom appear uncomfortable on camera and/or find the whole process tiresome. And because both cast and crew are shown attending VIP functions and socializing with high-profile American leaders, you have to wonder just how much they're learning about the true day-to-day lives and attitudes of the American people. Despite these issues, On the Road in America offers a chance to watch as people from two communities who are seen by the world as being at odds with each begin to realize that, at the end of the day, they actually have a lot in common.

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