A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Viewers see subjects wrestle with uncertainty and worry when they contemplate revealing their secrets to people in their lives. Their friends' and family members' reactions to their news can be mixed, so all kinds of emotions are in play. In a subtle way, the show encourages kindness by showing viewers that what you see isn't always what you get with people and that many are fighting battles in secret. Communication is key to the subjects' relationships with their loved ones.
Positive Role Models
All of the subjects show courage in breaking their silence and making themselves vulnerable to what others will think of them. Their friends and family don't always respond in predictable or supportive ways, but those who do give invaluable support.
Violence & Scariness
References to violent acts such as hate crimes and terrorism. Some footage of the events of September 11, 2001.
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"F--k," "damn," "s--t," "ass," "pissed off."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults are shown drinking at parties. Some stories involve drug use and alcoholism.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Secret Lives of Americans is an emotional docuseries that witnesses people revealing secrets about themselves to their closest friends and family. Most of the footage is captured by the subjects themselves using cameras, laptops, and cell phones, so it has the feel of a lengthy confessional. While the show does make entertainment of people's turmoil, it's not without their permission, so there's no sense of voyeurism or unwanted attention. Some stories raise sensitive issues such as racial prejudice and gender identity. Language is a concern, as "f--k," "s--t," and "damn" are audible at times. Because of the unpredictable nature of each episode, you may want to preview before your teens watch.
Is It Any Good?
If reality TV is any indicator, raw emotion is a powerful selling point in drama, which bodes well for this intense series. There's no telling going into an episode what will come of it, as the subjects' secrets can be anything from life-threatening illnesses to hidden religious beliefs, and their loved ones' reactions are similarly unpredictable. In cases where family and friends use the moment of honesty to rally around the person, though, the outcome is heartening and reveals the best of people.
Because of the surprise nature of the content of Secret Lives of Americans, this series might warrant a preview before your teens watch. Some matters might raise sensitive subjects or perhaps present topics in a manner that doesn't resonate with your beliefs. That said, it's always moving to see people turn fearful situations into positive building blocks in their relationships, and the subjects' plights do encourage compassion.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.