Thanks a Million

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Thanks a Million TV Poster Image
Celebs start chains of gratitude in short feel-good stories.

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

Educational Value

The series doesn't educate per se, but it does demonstrate the value of expressing gratitude. 

Positive Messages

Stories emphasize importance of expressing gratitude to those who make a meaningful impact on our lives. In addition to presenting recipients with money, those doing the giving share moments of heartfelt appreciation for others' kindness and generosity of spirit. Some stories raise issues like suicide attempts, and all are emotional in some way. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

All the recipients' contributions to their benefactor were meaningful, whether it was a tangible gift or general emotional support at a time of need. In communicating appreciation, the celebrities and others shine a light on acts that otherwise might go unnoticed. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Occasional mature and joking references, as when a celebrity reminds recipients to not "go to the strip club" with the money they're given.

Language

"F--k" is edited.

Consumerism

The celebrities involved in the show get visibility by being a part of it.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Thanks a Million is a docuseries produced by Jennifer Lopez in which celebrities acknowledge people who have inspired them and gift them money that they must then share in the same way. The idea is to create a pay-it-forward-style chain of gratitude that helps others whose kindness or example might otherwise go unnoticed. The stories are emotional (there's a lot of crying) and sometimes raise difficult topics like suicide and financial hardships, but they always inspire and end happily, partly because of the monetary gifts. Expect occasional language ("f--k" is bleeped), but overall, the series is an affecting display of gratitude and compassion that reminds viewers of the importance of acknowledging others' contributions to us.

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What's the story?

In THANKS A MILLION, celebrities like Nick Jonas, Kevin Hart, and Kristen Bell start a chain of gratitude by acknowledging people who have had an impact on their lives and presenting them with gifts of $100,000. The unsuspecting recipients must then give half of that gift to someone else whose positive influence has helped or inspired them in a similar way. 

Is it any good?

Grand monetary gesture aside, this series illustrates the extreme psychological value of expressing gratitude. Recipients have no idea what's in store for them when they're approached by their respective benefactors (they think they're part of a documentary about Good Samaritans, in fact), and their emotional reactions to the kind words that are spoken to them almost make the financial gift that follows seem superfluous. The show does a good job capturing the authenticity of expressing and receiving genuine gratitude. 

Not surprisingly, though, the money makes these moments all the better, and it's truly satisfying to see gifts that will make a tangible difference in people's lives go to deserving individuals. For the most part, the recipients are common folks who talk about average goals like buying a house and sending their kids to college, and it's easy to imagine that sums of $50,000 or $25,000 will play a role in their ability to do that. Thanks a Million reminds us that genuine gratitude never goes out of style and that turning someone else's gift to you into kindness to another person is an exceptional way to honor that act.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the purpose of the celebrities' involvement in Thanks a Million. What do the stars get out of being part of this effort? Do they have anything to gain professionally? Does it seem a meaningful project to them?

  • Does the exchange of money affect the authenticity of these expressions of gratitude? Would the show have been as compelling without that factor? In what ways do the compassion and kindness conveyed in these stories overshadow the financial gifts?

  • Kids: Which people in your life make your life better? Do you always thank them for what they do? How does it feel when someone says thank you to you? In what small ways can you reciprocate acts of kindness in your life? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love positive role models

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