S.O.B.: Socially Offensive Behavior

Common Sense Media says

Edgy but surprisingly boring hidden-camera show.

Age(i)

2
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9
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11
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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
Not applicable
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
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Cast:D.L. Hughley
Network:BET
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of S.O.B.: Socially Offensive Behavior was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Parent Written byminarie February 16, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

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 we would like it to be? This show has a message that is still pertinent to today's society. Racism is still around and we are still perpetuating it. This so has shown that not only do those that participate in the active act of prejudice against another person by being actively racist, but that those who are willing to sit back and say nothing are helping it persist in our society. If you cannot handle a tv show that enlightens you to the real issues of our society, and you must instead watch the fluff shows that make you feel all warm and fuzzy and keep you wrapped inside your comfortable bubble, then no this show is absolutely horrible for you. If, however, you would like to be enlightened and understand how racism and prejudice will only cease when people admit how ignorant they are, then yes, you will love this show.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byMyracole April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

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-Americans and what they really believe despite what they say.
Adult Written byfrozenfire April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
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 there are times when those events can actually happen.

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