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Ripley's Believe It or Not!
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the feats performed on this show can be bizarre and grotesque and sometimes involve pain. Such acts are presented in graphic detail using dramatic music and camera angles and can be very difficult for anyone to watch, including adults, which makes it a poor choice for younger or squeamish kids. That said, not all acts involve self-inflicted pain -- some are actually inspirational or funny, and many showcase the amount of hard work it takes to reach a goal. If young viewers are curious about the bizarre accomplishments featured here, be aware of what they're watching and emphasize that nothing they see should be replicated at home.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT captures the undeniable, voyeuristic appeal of seeing otherwise-average individuals perform fantastic deeds that often veer into the realm of the grotesque and morbid. Each episode covers approximately 10 feats, each accompanied by interviews and an introduction by host Dean Cain. Segments have introduced viewers to the Gray Lady, who, as a child, took nose drops that turned her skin silver; a 6-year-old skateboarder who's the youngest competitor ever to participate in the Gravity Games; roosters with 40-foot-long tail feathers; and a cocktail that contains portions of a severed human toe (consumed as a rite of passage into the Yukon).
Is it any good?
Most teens will be able to recognize that the accomplishments showcased on this show are odd and shouldn't be replicated, but if something pops up that's particularly perverse, parents may want to be on hand to discuss it afterward. And, frankly, although the majority of the acts on Ripley's don't involve pain, the show isn't the best choice for anyone squeamish, regardless of age.
But every so often there's an act that can be extraordinarily difficult to watch -- like the minister who electrocutes himself to demonstrate the power of faith. It's these kinds of things that parents need to be particularly aware of; either turn the show off or be prepared to talk to your kids about what they've seen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the amount of patience, commitment, and passion it can take to reach a goal. But what's the motivation for these participants? Are they internally driven to prove something to themselves, or are they looking for their 15 minutes of fame? How would you cope with external pressure when you're setting a personal goal?