TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Quint-Essential TV Poster Image
Multiples are a handful, but parents take it in stride.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The Ferrills put a positive spin on the daunting challenges that accompany their unique family, and they often express their appreciation for their blessings, even amid the chaos of having five babies. Tears are plentiful during the emotional ups and downs, but the family is surrounded by supportive friends and family who pitch in to help any way they can.

Violence & Scariness

No violence, but hospital scenes show Jenny and the babies being hooked up to monitors, poked for IVs, and prepped for surgery. Occasional mention is made of two infants theFerrills lost before this successful pregnancy.

Sexy Stuff

Passing mention of the couple's difficulties with pregnancy in the past.


Nothing overt, but in at least one instance, Pete takes viewers on a brief tour of the family's Web site (though the address is never given) and mentions that people can make donations to them online.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series is age appropriate for young tweens and up, but its content isn't likely to interest anyone but adults. Though the Ferrills' story of meeting the demands of five babies is compelling, there's little that sets it apart from other similar human-interest TV series. Hospital scenes do include some tense moments for the babies, and kids might be frightened by that and/or confused by the use of medical terms (C-section, apnea, heart murmur, and the like). On the up side, the Ferrills are honest about their emotions and don't sugar coat the physical and emotional strain of their unique parenthood -- but they always follow up with sincere appreciation for the blessings of their children.

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What's the story?

QUINT-ESSENTIAL follows the daily life of an Illinois family whose size more than quadrupled with the birth of quintuplets. When Jenny and Pete Ferrill learned they were having not one or two but five babies, they knew they had their work cut out for them. But nothing could prepare them for the joy -- and exhaustion -- of raising a handful of tots at the same time. This series follows the Ferrill family's emotional highs and lows from delivery to adjusting to life as a septet.

Is it any good?

Very little about this show will surprise any viewer who's either had a baby or watched one of the ubiquitous baby-related reality series already on TV, but there's still something that draws you to a heartwarming human-interest story like the Ferrills'. You can't help but worry along with them over troubling test results or watch in awe as the babies overcome the odds and develop into healthy, thriving infants.

While there's no cause for concern in sharing this series with tweens, don't expect them to feel the same emotional draw that you might, since they've never felt the awesome responsibility of caring for their own newborn (let alone five!). This touching series is best suited for adults who can appreciate the parents' emotional journey.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about raising children. How do you think the task of raising kids is complicated by having multiples? What coping techniques do you think parents of multiples use to handle the extra workload? What responsibilities does each family member have in your house? How does that help things run smoothly? Also, what do you think would be the benefits of being a twin (or triplet!)? And what do you think you might not like about it?

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