Survive This



Teens rise to the challenge in gripping reality show.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The eight teenage participants, drawn from all over the country, fit into clichéd social roles -- such as the Princess, the City Boy, and the Tough Girl -- and are frequently identified onscreen with these labels. There's some tension between the teens, mainly between those who are willing and able to tough it out in the woods and those who can’t, or won’t, do their share.


Some of the survival situations are based on simulated incidents, such as a dangerous bus crash, and some of the participants are involved in minor accidents (medical experts are on hand if necessary), but there's no actual violence.


Some flirting, but that’s as far as it goes.


Mild swearing, but nothing rougher than “holy crap.”

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality show about eight teens thrust into actual survival situations features simulated set-ups (like a bus crash in the middle of the woods) followed by very real demands (building their own shelter and sleeping out in the forest for several days, etc.). There are some scrapes and bruises but no real injuries, and medical experts are available if necessary. It's not a contest, and nobody gets voted out; the point is to see which teens can rise to the occasion and which ones decide to go home when host Les Stroud "Who wants out?" (Speaking of Stroud, this show is slightly more intense than his original Survivorman because of the heightened drama among the teen participants.)

What's the story?

Eight ordinary teens must learn to survive in the woods -- and get along with one another -- in this entertaining reality series. Host Les Stroud, the veteran outdoorsman behind Survivorman, creates a series of almost-real-life survival situations -- a bus accident that strands the group in the wilderness with limited supplies, for example -- and then challenges the group to SURVIVE THIS. Some of the participants have grown up camping and fishing and are quite comfortable living off the land. Others have almost no experience outdoors, except for the group's week-long training session before filming started. Stroud's demanding situations force them to work together to build shelter and find food ... and not all of them are up to the task.

Is it any good?


Survive This is a fun combination of realty-show drama -- as the teens' personalities click and clash -- and outdoor education, as Stroud and the participants talk about what it takes to survive in the wilderness and how common mistakes can sometimes be fatal. Though simulated, the situations feel very real, and the teens really do have to fend for themselves. Of course, Stroud and the producers are never far off, and medical attention is available if needed (and it is), but for the most part the kids are on their own.

The show isn't a contest; nobody is voted out of the group at the end of each episode. But Stroud periodically asks the group if anybody wants to go home, and, after some of the demanding tasks, it's clear that some of the participants are sorely tempted. That said, the teens are also surprisingly game and do well for themselves even after the reality of their situation starts to sink in. The one strike against the show is its stereotyping. The participants all fit into standard reality-show roles, and that's how they're labeled on-screen: the Environmentalist, the Hunter, the City Boy, the Sportsman, etc. But unlike the participants on many adult reality shows, the teens seem eager to cross the social divide and help each other. When the Princess is having a hard time, it's the Tough Girl who tries to bolster her spirits in an unexpectedly touching scene. As this show demonstrates, young people can rise to the occasion when given the chance, both emotionally and physically.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about survival. Do you think you could hack it in a survival situation? Does this show make you want to go camping, or does it make you glad you’ve got a roof over your head tonight? How do the survival situations in this show differ from other outdoor reality shows, such as Survivor?

TV details

Cast:Les Stroud
Network:Cartoon Network
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
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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Kid, 9 years old September 26, 2009

survive this rocks

It is a great show and every family should watch it
Kid, 12 years old September 1, 2010

Survive a Bad Show

Cartoon Network, like any other network or entity, has had, is going through, or will have a dark age. This show signified that the network was on the ides of its own decay; who would think that a reality show would be given the confirmation to air on a network that goes so far as to be NAMED for cartoons? The executives of the network at the time of its airing were clearly working at the wrong branch of an esteemed conglomerate, as Cartoon Network is just that, a network for cartoons.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byPlague January 7, 2010

Survive This.

Fun show for kids. My son loves watching it, preferably because it has Les Stroud in it. I've watched an episode and it was pretty interesting. Not a kind of show I would expect from Cartoon Network.


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