A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this adaptation of the British show Dragons' Den -- in which contestants pitch business proposals to five extremely successful entrepreneurs in hopes of convincing them to invest -- is steeped in themes of capitalism, money, and greed. Although the language is relatively mild ("hell," "damn"), some of the business "Sharks" use insults like "pig" and "stupid" when offering their sound-but-sometimes-harsh business advice. Kids probably won't tune in, but if they do, make sure they understand the context of these exchanges.
What's the story?
In SHARK TANK (a U.S. remake of the overseas hit Dragons' Den) hopeful entrepreneurs get three minutes to convince “The Sharks” -- software publisher Kevin O’Leary, Internet mogul Robert Herjavic, infomercial expert Kevin Harrington, real estate investor Barbara Corcoran, and Fubu Sportswear founder Daymond John -- to help turn their idea into a lucrative business. After listening to the entrpreneurs' pitches, which range from starting a wholesale sweet potato pie business to selling surgically implanted wireless phone jacks, each Shark must decide whether they're going to opt-in, how much cash they're willing to invest, and the number of shares they'll hold. If the proposal is particularly desirable, the Sharks battle it out with each other to get the biggest bite of the new company.
Is it any good?
Money is the driving force behind this series, and the Sharks openly share their love for making lots of it. Meanwhile, many of the contestants come off as desperate as they look to the self-made millionaires for the cash to help them get their businesses off the ground. Any compassion the Sharks might feel for the person or their situation doesn’t keep them from offering some sharp -- albeit honest -- criticism. It also doesn’t seem to stop them from throwing some stinging insults the entrepreneurs' way.
The show doesn’t always send the best messages, but it does have some things to offer. While the Sharks aren’t always friendly, they give contestants sound advice on how to make their businesses successful -- and when it's time to walk away. And their reactions to some contestants’ half-baked ideas can lead to amusing moments. Meanwhile, the suspense builds as each side decides whether to accept or reject each other’s offer. Shark Tank may not be for everyone, but business-savvy viewers are likely to find it quite entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the work that goes into getting a business off the ground. Is it possible to succeed without having people invest in your service or product?
Do you have any business ideas of your own? What kind of research and planning would you have to do to get it off the ground? If you were to pitch your idea to the Sharks, what would you say? Could you handle the criticism?
How hard is it to regroup if your plans fail? How do people turn negative circumstances into possibilities?
For kids who love competition
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.