A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series focuses on giving, volunteerism, and helping those in need. It educates viewers about the different reasons that people fall below the poverty line and dispels myths about struggling communities and the people who live in them. Themes include empathy, gratitude, and humility.
Positive Role Models
The millionaires initially lie but come clean in the end (and it's all well-meaning). Not a lot of diversity in the millionaires.
Violence & Scariness
The low-income communities are touted as dangerous; while some include locations where gang violence and other rough activities happen, most of the places visited are less violent than the millionaires expect them to be. A few of the people they talk to have witnessed, been involved in, and/or have been convicted of violent activity. Occasionally police are shown making arrests, and occasionally gunshots and other violent sounds are heard.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some of the inner-city neighborhoods may struggle with prostitution.
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Audible language includes words like "piss" and "damn." Stronger language is bleeped, and mouths are blurred.
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Products & Purchases
At the beginning of each episode, the wealthy participants briefly talk about their net worth and the expensive items they own, including Aston Martin cars and other luxury items. Store names like IGA Supermarket are occasionally visible.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The millionaires are sometimes shown drinking wine and champagne in the early part of each episode. Liquor stores and alcohol bottles are osccasionally visible in some of the featured communities.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Secret Millionaire is a reality series that follows millionaires who move into impoverished neighborhoods and pretend to be poor in order to meet people and determine who's most deserving of monetary aid. It stresses the importance of volunteerism as well as cash donations. While there's some lying involved, the fibbers come clean at the end of the show, and it's all meant well. The show offers a lot of positive messages, but it also includes some potentially upsetting images (like cockroaches crawling all over kitchens) and many sad stories (one boy admits that he lived in a van for over a year). Language is fairly mild ("piss," "hell," etc.); expect some scenes of police arrests and conversations about gang violence, drugs, and shootings. Wine, champagne, and empty liquor bottles are sometimes visible.
Is It Any Good?
The series offers a compassionate exploration of some of the socioeconomic problems that have ultimately resulted in millions of Americans living in poverty. And by presenting the show as a reality check for the wealthy, it discusses these issues in a way that offsets preconceived notions about the poor. It highlights how very easy it is for good, hardworking people to find themselves living below the poverty line due to things like the lack of adequate (or any) health insurance or becoming the a victim of a natural disaster. Secret Millionaire also identifies many of the reasons why cities and towns die, including the systematic destruction of a community's natural resources, changes in the economy, and the increasing proliferation of drugs and violence.
While the show puts a lot of focus on the reasons that people fall on hard times, it also frequently stresses the importance of giving. The series does emphasize the millionaires' cash donations, but it also demonstrates that you don't have to be wealthy to make a huge difference in the lives of people in need. From volunteering to simply listening, it shows how the smallest things can have a great impact on the others' lives. Ultimately, it teaches the lesson that no matter how much money you have, it's our compassion for people in need and the acts of kindness we offer that truly make us rich.
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.