What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the content here is generally harmless, although some of the machines could be considered "violent" due to their ability to do serious damage on the job. (There are also eye-opening demonstrations of the machines' brute force, smashing cars with a wrecking ball, etc.) A few brand names are visible on the machines themselves, but it isn't the focus of the show.
What's the story?
In RICHARD HAMMOND'S CRASH COURSE, British television presenter Richard Hammond (Top Gear) heads to the United States to master the most extreme machines ever made. (And the catch? He's got just three days to learn skills that would normally take years of training to perfect.) Hammond's long list of challenges includes operating a U.S. Army MIA2 Abrams tank, a log loader, a two-ton wrecking ball, and the planet's most powerful fire engine.
Is it any good?
Even though it's got the likeable Hammond at the helm, Crash Course isn't as gripping as other "extreme machine" reality shows that highlight interpersonal drama among working crews. But it's well worth a watch all the same, particularly if your child has a marked interest in watching construction crews and other heavy machine operators at work. There's plenty of action on display, with the added bonus of information that puts everything in context.
Of course there's also the element of fun, which works so well for Hammond and his co-hosts on their popular British car show, Top Gear. So after Hammond diligently learns the skills he needs from his mentors, he's set to task accomplishing predictably ridiculous feats such as demolishing an entire house without harming his dummy buddy, "Nigel," who's snoozing away in an interior bedroom.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the educational value of reality shows like this one. What does this show teach viewers about extreme machinery? Is the structure geared more toward information or entertainment?
Does it surprise you to learn how much skill is involved in operating heavy machinery? How important is safety? Does the show's tone downplay the danger involved in operating such powerful vehicles?
Who's the target audience here -- British or American viewers? How does having Hammond play host shape the show's take on the United States and the people he meets here?