S.O.B.: Socially Offensive Behavior

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
S.O.B.: Socially Offensive Behavior TV Poster Image
Edgy but surprisingly boring hidden-camera show.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The point of the show is to prove that racism, sexism, stereotyping, and other types of social gaffes are -- as the title suggests -- unwanted and offensive.

Violence
Sex

Some segments use sexual innuendo and partial nudity as punch lines. In one episode, a magazine photo shows a woman wearing thong underwear that reveals her buttocks.

Language

"serious offenders ("motherf--king," "s--t," and "bitch") are bleeped.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults are occasionally shown drinking, but it's usually in moderation.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this hidden-camera series contains scenarios that aren't always kid-friendly and has some iffy language ("ass," etc.). And since young children might not understand that the people saying offensive things to unsuspecting "victims" are actually actors who were paid to be rude, parents will definitely want to make that point clear. On the plus side, the show could serve as a catalyst for conversations between parents and older teens about racism, sexism, and other types of socially offensive behavior.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfrozenfire April 9, 2008
I believe that parents should watch this show with their children that are 11 and older and explain that some of the situations on the show may seem funny ,but... Continue reading
Adult Written byminarie February 16, 2013

Rant

So don't watch this show with your young children. Simple as that. Whats wrong with watching a show that may not be as outrageous silly and lighthearted as... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMyracole April 9, 2008

Great!

I believe this show is exactly what BET needs. Its not only entertaining, but also funny, informational, and accurate. It shows the limits of African-American... Continue reading

What's the story?

Imagine walking into a restaurant you've never been to before and being greeted by a smiling hostess with a stack of menus. But instead of asking how many are in your party -- or even whether you prefer to smoke or not -- she cheerfully asks you your ethnicity. If you're African American, you'll be seated along with other \"colored\" diners; if you're white, you'll be ushered into a separate section. There are even designated zones for Hispanics and Asians (who, as the hostess points out, typically like to eat with chopsticks at the bar). This unthinkable situation is just one of many scenarios explored in S.O.B.: SOCIALLY OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR, a hidden-camera series designed to test how average folks respond when directly confronted with racism, bigotry, and other offensive acts.

Is it any good?

Any points S.O.B. earns for its sense of social responsibility are sadly outweighed by its actual entertainment value. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why the show falls short of its noble aims. For one thing, the segments introducing each sketch, which are hosted by actor-comedian D.L. Hughley, come off as slightly strange and inauthentic, in part because they're randomly taped at night in front of a dramatically lit bridge that's nowhere near the action in question. But it's the serious mood of these segments that's especially off-putting. They evoke the somber severity of a show like Unsolved Mysteries rather than the lightheartedness a viewer might expect from a hidden-camera show hosted by a comedian.

Then there's the content. S.O.B.'s sketches are certainly provocative, and the actors who've been hired to say offensive things to unsuspecting victims are extremely good at what they do. But the hijinks never seem to reach a satisfying level of outrageousness, and the victims' responses typically prove underwhelming. Maybe reality TV has trained us to expect human drama and hype on a scale that's simply forced and unrealistic. And maybe that's why S.O.B. seems kind of boring in comparison to other shows of its ilk. In short, S.O.B.: Socially Offensive Behavior isn't a bad show -- and it could actually help you talk to your kids about a long list of worthwhile issues. But it isn't a program with serious staying power. It's as simple as that.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the show truly reflects the way people behave in modern society, or whether certain "bad" behaviors have been inflated for comic effect. What aspects of each situation are realistic and unrealistic? And do you think any of these scenarios could actually happen? Kids and parents can also share their own stories about times they might have felt offended or disrespected by a person they didn't know. When someone hurt your feelings by saying or doing something rude, did you choose to speak up, or did you keep quiet?

TV details

Our editors recommend

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate