Risking It All

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Risking It All TV Poster Image
Families look for better lives off the grid in mild reality.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Going off the grid is viewed as a way of alleviating financial, personal, and medical issues. Christianity and marital problems also are themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Parents are doing what they believe is in the best interest of their families, though their motives are sometimes complicated by desperation. Some parents lie to their kids.

Violence

Guns and knives are used to hunt for and prepare food. Bad weather creates potentially dangerous situations. Kids tussle, argue, cry.

Sex
Language

Occasional words such as "hell"; curses bleeped. 

Consumerism

Coca-Cola and Penske logos visible. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A cast member uses herbs to ease symptoms from serious medical conditions.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Risking It All contains themes ranging from the importance of taking chances and the negative aspects of living in the modern world to Christianity, serious illness, and marital problems. The risks associated with living off the grid are occasionally mentioned. Guns and knives are used for survival purposes; there's the occasional strong word ("hell"; curses bleeped); and herbal medicines are explained.

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What's the story?

The reality series RISKING IT ALL features three families who have decided to leave their modern, stressful lives behind and live off the grid. The series follows three families -- the Kemps, the Watfords, and the Elliots -- as they leave their homes, friends, and all modern conveniences and attempt to rebuild their lives in a way that is less stressful, healthier, and more family-oriented. From building a house in the forest to figuring out how to live off the land, they must face the challenges that come with their new lifestyle. It isn't easy, but they hope that with hard work, an open mind, and a positive attitude, they can have a life that will bring them happiness. 

Is it any good?

The voyeuristic series offers a look at people who are taking extreme measures to kickstart a life that won't force them to deal with the stresses brought on by the daily grind of the contemporary world. Some of them look at the move as an adventure, but others seem to be making the transition out of desperation and are approaching the experience with a limited understanding of the challenges that await them. Despite their circumstances, all of them believe it will reconnect their families in some way. 

The parents argue that the move benefits their children, who range from toddlers to college-bound teens, because they will unplug from technology and learn self-sufficiency. Although this isn't necessarily a bad thing, the fact that some parents choose to lie to their children about the fact that the move is permanent (versus, for example, a three-month summer vacation) is a little disturbing. Nonetheless, viewers may still be inspired by the leap of faith they're taking to find what they're looking for. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about living "off the grid." Where did that term come from? What are the benefits of living without modern conveniences? The risks? If your family chose to live off the grid, what do you think the hardest part of the experience would be? What would be the best part(s)?

  • Do you think these families would have risked leaving everything behind and started these new lives if they were not appearing on a reality series? Why, or why not? 

  • Should parents ever lie to their children? What if it's to protect them? Why, or why not? 

TV details

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