Shear Genius TV Poster Image

Shear Genius



Stylists get snippy in reality-show competition.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Features people who work hard doing what they love. But the competition brings out the worst in some of the stylists, who insult and try to undermine one another.

Not applicable

Some flirting and mild sexual innuendo. One male stylist claims he's "not gay" but flirts heavily with a male salon manager.


The occasional "f--k" is bleeped; words like "ass" and "bitch" aren't. Name-calling, some derogatory terms.


The stylists work in the Nexxus salon. In one episode, they go to Michael's craft store, whose sign is clearly displayed.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Stylists toast each other with champagne on their first night in the house.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that -- like many reality-show competitions -- this hairstyling series emphasizes personal conflict. Contestants insult one another in individual interviews, sometimes using derogatory names or curse words. Some face-to-face confrontations get snippy, too, as stylists insult one another's abilities during competitions. Some flirting occurs (sometimes between same-sex pairs), and one male competitor seems confused about his sexuality.

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What's the story?

Following the standard reality-competition format, SHEAR GENIUS begins with a group of 12 hairdressers who live together and compete in a series of challenges judged by pros, battling for the chance to take home the top prize. Tasks include things like creating "hair art" -- in which contestants get 20 minutes to shop for supplies in a craft store and then two hours to create their masterpieces on models. The models later walk down the runway in front of the judges, and the familiar elimination process begins, complete with tense moments when host Jaclyn Smith draws out the seconds before announcing whether a stylist is safe or has met their "final cut."

Is it any good?


Just like in close cousin Project Runway and other shows of the same ilk, the contestants frequently get mean and catty. For example, during a trip to the craft store, one stylist sees another choosing feathers off a display and rushes in to grab them all before the first one knows what's happening. The camera catches a cruel shrug of the shoulders as the second stylist walks away triumphant.

While that kind of petty behavior certainly isn't good role modeling for younger viewers, it's also what makes Shear Genius fun to watch, in a guilty-pleasure sort of way. Parents who let their kids watch can use the opportunity to discuss the benefits of being kind to others, even in the face of competition.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of conflict-driven reality TV. Would these shows be as entertaining if everyone got along? How much of the conflicts viewers see on TV do you think is manufactured/encouraged by the folks behind the scenes? Do you have to be a certain kind of person to get on a reality TV show? Families can also discuss sportsmanship. Why do you think rules about sportsmanlike behavior exist? What's wrong with playing dirty? Do you think nice people tend to lose competitions more often? Can you think of examples of nice people winning, or mean people losing?

TV details

Cast:Jaclyn Smith, Michael Carl, Sally Hershberger
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bytaterbug14 April 9, 2008

great drama series

good for kids who like reality tv, without all of the sex and violence
Adult Written bytholmgren April 9, 2008


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