The Great Debate

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Great Debate TV Poster Image
Lightweight pop culture arguments are feisty but fun.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

While the message isn't completely negative, this isn't the place to shop for positive take-aways.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Because the show thrives on extremes, it's not the best forum for positive role modeling.


A few references to celebrity fistfights or other violent behavior, but nothing of serious concern.


Some topics prompt heavy sexual innuendo, including "Who's the bigger political cad: Bill Clinton or John Edwards?" and "Who's the hotter Russian tennis star: Anna Kournikova or Maria Sharapova?" Some of the spicier comments include a statement that "needier girls are better in bed"; a reference to the former president "getting the high, hard one" in the Oval Office; and the rhetorical question "Who needs Rogaine when you've got a boner?"


Strong language like "bulls--t" and "tits" is bleeped, but you'll still hear words like "ass," "crap," "penis," "booty," "sexy," and "crack whore."


Some debates reference popular books, movies, and TV shows (like The O.C. and Star Wars), as well as celebrity brands, including bands and musicians (like Madonna and the Rolling Stones).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some mentions of things like drinking heavily and doing drugs, but the behaviors aren't actually demonstrated.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this pop culture-centric show will probably appeal most to viewers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. But older teens might want to watch, too. If they do tune in, they'll hear a fair amount of bleeped language and sexual innuendo (including comments like one panelist's crass claim about Ashlee Simpson's attractiveness: "I'd do her with her old nose"). They'll also hear words like "boner" and "badass" and be treated to debates on the finer points of topics like "real boobs vs. fake boobs."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 14 years old Written byebzallday16 July 25, 2009

A great show for anybody who likes pop culture

The Greate Debate was an awsome show... i loved it! it really entertained me!

What's the story?

An ever-changing roster of comedians and low-level celebrities (including Hulk Hogan and Wil Wheaton) weigh the merits of competing pop culture references in THE GREAT DEBATE, a series of one-hour specials airing on VH1 that's similar in format to the network's Best Week Ever. The panel specializes in not-so-burning questions like "Who's the hotter Simspon sister: Jessica or Ashlee?" and "The Snuggie: Genius or not?"

Is it any good?

While it's true that spirited debates like these won't change the world (can't Alf and E.T. both be awesome aliens?), they can be a lot of fun to watch for adults and older teens -- particularly those born early enough to get some of the kitschier references. It's not the funniest play on pop culture VH1 has to offer, and the boxing match-style announcer is kind of annoying. But if you're craving some easily digestible entertainment, this will do in a pinch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's kid-friendlier topics, including "Kittens vs. Puppies," "Alf vs. E.T.," and "Cabbage Patch Kids vs. Tickle-Me Elmo." Do moms and dads tend to agree or disagree with their kids' opinions when it comes to pop culture?

  • Families can also discuss how the celebrities mentioned in these debates measure up when it comes to role modeling. Do we tend to find celebrity news more or less entertaining when it involves a degree of negative behavior? Why?

  • And, for fun, kids and parents can each think of other topics to debate at the dinner table. When you're done talking, you can vote on who picked the liveliest topic.

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reality TV

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate