The Big 4-0

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Big 4-0 TV Poster Image
Reality show celebrates getting older and better.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Positive messages about embracing the aging process. Marriage, divorce, and death are discussed, but in the context of looking forward and living a fulfilling life. The people turning 40 are surrounded by supportive, loving friends and family members. The men and women on the show are from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds.


No real violence, but some celebrations include skydiving, playing rough games of football, etc.


Mild references to "looking sexy" at 40. Also some discussions of romance and divorce.


Some references to universities like Georgia Tech and some vacation destinations, like Jamaica.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol (wine, champagne) is served at some of the festivities.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mild reality show celebrates the 40th-birthday milestone and focuses on why this age should be looked at positively. Alcohol (wine, champagne) is served at some of the parties, and there are some mild references to looking "sexy," as well as some brief discussions about divorce, accidents, and death. But these subjects are approached from the context of turning over a new leaf and living a positive life. All of that said, it's not likely that kids are going to be particularly interested in a show about a birthday that probably seems impossibly far off to them.

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What's the story?

THE BIG 4-0 shows how some people treat turning 40 as a midlife milestone -- rather than a midlife crisis. Using their big birthday to do things like travel, play football against a champion college team, or going skydiving, these men and women live it up and demonstrate that 40 is a great age to be. Best of all, their friends and family support their plans and celebrate along with them.

Is it any good?

This upbeat, positive show is a fun way of demonstrating how people are using their 40th birthday as motivation to turn a new leaf and live life to the fullest. In order to move forward, some of these folks find the courage to let go of difficult moments from their past. Others simply use the opportunity to show that they're every bit as healthy, strong, and good looking as they were in their 20s.

Some parties do include alcohol (though it's mostly social drinking), and there's some discussion of serious issues like divorce, death, and, in one case, a terrible accident. But these challenges are presented as obstacles that have been overcome, giving these folks all the more reason to celebrate their big 4-0. The series is mild enough for older tweens to watch (if they're interested, that is), and sends great messages about embracing the aging process that can serve as inspiration for people of all ages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how TV generally represents people in their 40s. What kind of messages does the media send about aging? Do you think the media puts pressure on people to always look younger than they really are? If so, how? Families can also discuss the changes that take place in people's lives when they turn 40. Why is it such a big milestone for some people?

TV details

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