The Carbonaro Effect

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Carbonaro Effect TV Poster Image
Magician's deceptions are extra tricky in fun reality show.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Sometimes things aren't what they seem, but you can trick people into thinking that they are. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Michael Carbonaro creates some fun moments at unsuspecting people's expense, but it's all in good fun and not intended to cause harm. 

Violence

People yell or react to the unexpected. Illusions include smashing windows, snakes coming out of places, etc. 

Sex

Some mild sexual innuendo, including references to panties. 

Language

"Damn," "crap," "hell," bleeped cursing. 

Consumerism

Logos for locations where Carbonaro is working, like HobbyTown USA, are prominently shown. Brands like Aquafina, Cadillac, etc., are visible during tricks, but most are not prominently featured. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to drinking, getting drunk. Some tricks take place at bars. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Carbonaro Effect is a magic-themed reality show that features a range of illusions, and seemingly rational (but untrue) explanations for them. There are lots of strong words and bleeped cursing, as well as some sexual innuendo. Tricks include things like smashing car windows, making snakes appear, and other events, many of which lead to yelling and jumping by innocent bystanders. Some local establishment names are prominently shown, and brands like Aquafina and Cadillac are partially visible. There are also some references to drinking and getting drunk. 

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What's the story?

THE CARBONARO EFFECT is a reality series featuring actor and illusionist Michael Carbonaro performing tricks in front of unsuspecting folks, and then convincing them that what they're seeing is real. Hidden cameras capture the magician posing as a sales clerk, a doctor in training, a car wash attendant, and other roles. As he works at each "job," Carbonaro plays his tricks on the people he's interacting with. After each stunned reaction, Carbonaro continues to perform his job as usual, often offering seemingly rational, commonsense explanations for the phenomena. As a result, some people actually begin to believe that what they're seeing is genuine. 

Is it any good?

This funny series features a wide array of illusions performed by magic pro Carbonaro in hopes of fooling people into believing that what is happening is a normal occurrence. From convincing a store customer that the orange he's eating serves double duty as a human-made storage container, to making a patient believe that he's hallucinating, Carbonaro combines well-performed tricks with smooth talking to illustrate how folks can be convinced of something that they would ordinarily not believe. 

It's fun to watch, especially when people begin to accept the explanations offered for each weird or anxiety-provoking event, some of which are more outlandish than the trick itself. Some of the more incredulous reactions may also make you chuckle. But The Carbonaro Effect also demonstrates how easily some people can be manipulated into believing something that they know, fundamentally, isn't rational. It's a bit disturbing, but still manages to be very entertaining. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about magic. How do illusionists manage to perform tricks without people noticing what's really happening? Where do they learn how to do this?

  • Is the purpose behind the The Carbonaro Effect just to entertain people with magic tricks? Or is it pointing to something more serious? 

TV details

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For kids who love magic

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