A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series' focus is on creating healthier lifestyles in kids and raising awareness of a dangerous epidemic of obesity. But, like other weight-related shows, it often plays on the shock value of parents' and kids' emotions. Shaq and his team of professionals talk tough to the kids to underscore the seriousness of their situation and often refer to the kids' efforts as "pathetic" and "terrible."
Occasional expletives like "ass."
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Only brandless junk food (pizza, burgers, fries, etc.) is shown, but its detrimental effects on kids' health is described in detail.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the kids in this reality weight-loss series are subjected to tough, in-your-face talk from the team of professionals trying to inspire them, often reducing both them and their parents to tears. Their physical efforts are also disparaged, with the experts calling them "pathetic" and "terrible," both to their faces and in private. That said, the criticism they face is rooted in fact, as all of the kids are obese (some morbidly so) and on their way to a lifetime of health problems. It's unlikely that your kids will be inspired to change their own habits just because of this series, but it might open their (and your) eyes to the seriousness of this countrywide epidemic.
Is It Any Good?
While well intentioned, there's too much focus on drama and emotion, the kids' failures are subjected to hurtful comments, and viewers are left wondering what goes on when the cameras go off. But the biggest problem (literally) is the tall man at the center of it all. The series often seems to be more of a resume-builder for Shaq than anything else. He gets plenty of camera time to toot his own horn about how, despite his being "one of the world's greatest athletes," he relates to these kids and can understand their pain.
The show also makes some bold claims about the country's apparent indifference to the problem of childhood obesity, while positioning Shaq as some type of super-hero come to save the day. Really, does celebrity status have to override the efforts of the common folk regarding this issue, too? You might want to check out the show if this is an issue your family is facing and you need some inspiration. But avoid using it as a motivational tool, since pointing fingers at the overweight subjects and reminding your kids that they don't want to wind up like that could instigate a whole new host of problems.
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