Road Rules

TV review by
Jill Murphy, Common Sense Media
Road Rules TV Poster Image
Rules of the road: Play, win, and party hard.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Conniving and scheming are a large part of the series; contestants speak poorly of each other in video diaries; viewers are urged to vote off their least favorite contestant via online polling.


Screaming matches and occasional "drunken" brawls.


Discussion about -- and video montages of -- past hook-ups (including a three-way among cast members); kissing.


Foul language is bleeped ... but there are a lot of bleeps.

Consumerism and cell phone companies are featured; prizes are from major corporations; viewers are urged to visit

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Smoking and drinking (including hard liquor). Some participants are underage.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this MTV series debuted in 1995 and has been on and off the air ever since. The show was made over in 2007 to compete with the newer, flashier extreme-challenge reality shows that have cropped up in its wake. The six competitors travel together for hundreds of miles in a cramped RV, which makes for plenty of drama. As in many other MTV reality shows, hook-ups, drinking (some of it by those who are underage), bad language, and fighting are the norm.

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What's the story?

MTV's ROAD RULES, initially created in the mid-1990s, got a makeover in 2007 when former Road Rules cast members were invited to mingle with "newbies," and an interactive "viewer's revenge" element was added that gave the new players and home viewers the chance to upstage and overturn the show's veteran players. But despite the makeover, some things remain the same: The six main contestants are still put in an RV, and they still have missions and challenges to complete. Based on their performance during the episode's physical challenge, one girl and one guy are voted to compete against a member of the veteran-player-staffed Pit Crew. Home viewers then vote online to determine which of the two contestants will go on to the Elimination Pit (fans watch the battle at later in the week). Whoever's left standing gets to rejoin -- or join for the first time, as the case may be -- the folks in the RV, and at the end of the season, the final six contestants receive a "handsome reward."

Is it any good?

The show's challenges are physically demanding and -- with their extreme heights, underwater treasure hunts, and exhausting relays -- are created to scare the participants straight. Naturally, despite the fact that these are the most engaging parts of the show, they get the least amount of airtime. Instead, episodes focus on drama between the players ... and with all the partying and arguing they do, there's no shortage of conflict to show.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about this type of reality program. What do viewers gain from watching? Teens, do you prefer shows that deal with physical competitions, rather than ones that focus on a lavish house where roommates just sit around? What elements of both of those scenarios are found here? How much of the drama that's shown on screen do you think actually happened that way? What role does editing play in reality shows? Why do past cast members want to be on the show again?

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