The Gamekillers

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Gamekillers TV Poster Image
Dating show is one big ad for Axe Body Spray.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Contestants are tricked into believing they're on a dating show, but it's not malicious. Awkward and often inappropriate situations are staged to elicit a reaction. The show's focus is on heterosexual dating, and it features people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Some bathroom humor.

Violence

While the title includes the word "killers," there's actually not really any visible violence to speak of.

Sex

Flirting, hand holding, hugging, kissing, and very strong sexual innuendo, including discussions about erections, sexual prowess, and orgasms. Words like "nards," "sausage fest," and other slang are used to describe genitals and sexual acts. Young men and women are sometimes seen in their underwear or towels, but no nudity is visible.

Language

Generally pretty mild -- "hell," etc. -- when it comes to actual swearing; there's lots of sex- and body-related slang, but the word "penis" is bleeped out.

Consumerism

The series was created specifically as a promotional vehicle for Axe Body Spray; Axe is referenced throughout the show. Some NYC sites/brands, including the Hudson Hotel and Circle Line Cruise, are mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer, wine, and hard liquor consumption visible.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this dating show -- which was inspired by a successful deodorant commercial -- was specifically created to promote Axe Body Spray; not surprising, the product is featured prominently. There's also some drinking and strong sexual innuendo, including references to genitals, erections, and orgasms. While the unsuspecting "contestants" are tricked into thinking they're participating in a more traditional type of dating show, the series is intended to be funny rather than malicious.

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What's the story?

THE GAMEKILLERS is a partially scripted reality game show that puts five unsuspecting guys to the test by setting them up in manhood-stealing dating situations. Each victim -- who thinks he's appearing on a regular dating show -- is sent on a day-long first date with a beautiful woman and a TV crew. What he doesn't know is that the woman, along with the other people he'll interact with throughout the day, is a "gamekiller": an actor who attempts to sabotage the date and destroy what the contestant believes are his chances with his companion. Characters like "The 11" (a towel-clad woman locked out of her hotel room) and "The Balladeer" (a love-stricken crooning ex-boyfriend) create extremely awkward moments from which the self-proclaimed Casanova must recover. The contestant's reactions -- which are re-created using animation and stuffed toys -- are scored according to how much "game" he still has. Viewers are also invited to text in their comments about the events and have them aired on the show.

Is it any good?

Gamekillers (and some of its cast) got its start as an extended Axe deodorant commercial, and it's as much a vehicle for promoting Axe Body Spray as it is a reality game show. The series is peppered with "Axe Tips" about dating and women. And if the featured contestant still has game at the end of the date, his name is engraved on the Axe Gamekiller Chalice alongside notable names like Hercules and King Henry VIII.

Specifically targeted to the Axe-wearing MTV crowd, the series is a little silly, and the constant product promotion wears thin. But while you can't help cringing at some of the uncomfortable moments, it's also hard not to chuckle at some of the others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about TV shows that combine elements of entertainment and commercialism/product promotion. Which other shows can you think of that do this? Are they any different from early TV series that included ads for sponsor brands within the actual show? What's the difference between this and an infomercial?

TV details

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