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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
History of various Asian immigrant cultures and communities and their culinary contributions to the United States. Food education about cuisines that may be unfamiliar to those who did not grow up in that community.
Messages about pride in one's heritage, courage immigrants have to establish a life in a new country, and about hard work making the American dream possible.
Positive Role Models
Restaurant owners who work hard, overcome obstacles, and are proud to represent their cultural heritage.
The show highlights a different Asian-American culture in each episode and showcases multiple people and communities from those cultures. Immigrants talk about their national origins and cultures, and show off their delicious food. Subjects do not gloss over the difficulties of being undocumented, being "different," and sometimes just trying to assimilate. They mention prejudice against their communities but it is not dwelled on. Themes of social justice and equity, immigration, intersectionality, and model minorities are discussed.
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Violence & Scariness
Wartime news footage of soldiers shooting guns, no injuries shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One scene features a burlesque dancer wearing a revealing outfit (including a buttocks-revealing thong) and dancing suggestively.
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Mild profanity like "s--t" and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Featured restaurants mentioned by name, visual logos throughout.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Verbal references to people using illegal drugs. Visual modeling of adults drinking alcohol responsibly, verbal references to excessive drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Take Out with Lisa Ling is a documentary-style food show hosted by journalist Lisa Ling. Iffy content varies from episode to episode, so parents should keep an eye on the individual episode's TV rating. There's verbal references to adults taking illegal drugs and drinking to excess, and some news footage of soldiers shooting guns in wartime. One scene features a burlesque dancer wearing a revealing outfit and dancing suggestively. There's moderate language like "s--t" and "hell" and the occasional F-bomb. There are visible logos throughout and the featured restaurants are mentioned by name, but nothing is over-the-top product placement. Prejudice against Asian-Americans is a recurring topic, but generally the show focuses on uplifting accounts of restaurateurs succeeding despite obstacles. For families with older foodie kids, this excellent series is great to watch together.
Is It Any Good?
This fantastic documentary series will be appreciated by foodies, history buffs, and generally curious teens and adults alike. In Take Out with Lisa Ling, the veteran journalist weaves compelling historical narratives about how various communities of Asian-Americans immigrated to the United States and influenced its food scene forever. Because this history is typically swept under the rug, kids (and adults!) will likely be delighted by the new connections Ling helps them make. A highlight of this show is the representation: While often Asian-Americans get lumped into one monolithic group, Ling highlights the different experiences of specific Asian communities in cities across the U.S. Ling doesn't shy away from talking about tough stuff like prejudice and discrimination, but she equally shares the joy and pride her subjects have in their identities. In addition to the historical context, the show also features mouthwatering food. The series is perfect for families to watch together -- just don't watch hungry!
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.