Real Simple. Real Life.

TV review by
Anne Louise Bannon, Common Sense Media
Real Simple. Real Life. TV Poster Image
Realistic makeovers help make life fun again.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Overall, the show's message is positive. The featured folks get help dealing with real issues and difficulties. In one episode, for example, the subject is overwhelmed not so much because of things but because of her own perfectionism, which she's encouraged to ditch.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

References to breasts in terms of style/fashion.


One of the subjects talks about how a situation "pisses" him off, but that's about it.


Aside from the show itself, which is based on the magazine Real Simple, there's an Office Depot in the back of one shot. Coming back from a trip to the store, the camera focuses on the Sears bags, and the company is mentioned. Nothing too blatant, though.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's a fair amount of talk about and engaging in social drinking of wine and other alcoholic beverages.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this makeover show -- which deals with real issues that many moms face, such as being overwhelmed by childcare duties and their own high standards -- isn't very likely to interest kids. The focus is on mothers, although one dad concedes his part in his family's chaos. Social drinking is considered a normal part of proceedings, and there's some very occasional mildly salty language.

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What's the story?

REAL SIMPLE. REAL LIFE. is almost more of a life makeover show than a standard fix-the-wardrobe or redo-a-room-in-the-house kind of thing. Each of the show's subjects -- almost all of whom are moms -- are overwhelmed by the chaos in their lives, whether it's financial, clutter, or just trying to be perfect. Enter host Kit Hoover, who helps them come up with simple strategies to deal with their problems.

Is it any good?

The tips offered in each episode are mostly useful -- and indeed simple. But, as happens so often, simple doesn't always mean easy. For example, the solution to one subject's issue with perfectionism is to stop thinking she has to be perfect -- a simple concept that's extremely difficult to enact.

Still, the show is more fun than not. And it's very positive and upbeat, placing an emphasis on the importance of moms taking care of themselves so that they'll be better able to take care of the people in their lives.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how shows like this do and don't reflect real problems in the world. Kids: Do you think the makeover subjects will maintain the changes in their lives? Can days with a makeover team really lead to lasting changes? Is it fair for shows to make that kind of change look easy? Also, what benefit do you think Real Simple magazine gets from the show?

TV details

  • Premiere date: October 18, 2008
  • Cast: Kit Hoover
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-G
  • Last updated: September 19, 2019

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