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The Gymkhana Files

TV review by
Mark Dolan, Common Sense Media
The Gymkhana Files TV Poster Image
Swearing and fast driving rule in lackluster reality show.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Block does seem to work hard, but his challenges are low-stakes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Scotto states that his interest in cars is what kept him from being the only one of his childhood friends to not end up dead or in jail. 

Violence

Lots of dangerous driving.

Sex

Female dancers on stage at a car race wear very short skirts. 

Language

S**t; f**k; d**k; a*s; 

Consumerism

The Ford Motor Company furnishes Block's racing team with its cars. Block also often wears a Monster Energy Drink hat as that company is also one of his racing sponsors. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Gymkhana Files is a reality show following the team behind a successful series of YouTube stunt driving videos as they embark on creating their epic tenth entry. There is a fair amount of harsh language, plenty of dangerous driving, and lots of macho posturing and testosterone-fueled commentary. Car-obsessed teens who enjoy the motor stunts and dude-bro attitude of Nitro Circus might be interested.

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What's the story?

THE GYMKHANA FILES follows Ken Block, the multi-millionaire founder of DC Shoes who used his earnings from selling the company to focus on rally racing. About a decade  ago he made a video of his driving titled Gymkhana, which is an Anglo-Indian word that refers to a day of racing events. The video then went viral in a big way. He and his team, including hands-on director Brian Scotto are now in the process of making their tenth Gymkhana video and the pressure's on to make it the biggest one yet. Block's style of driving uses lots of precision drifting, perfectly executed skids and new twists on doing donuts. As he travels to new cities the show follows his and his crew as they scout locations and plan out the various sequences to be filmed. Drama is found along the way as vehicles perform unpredictably, weather fails to cooperate, or Block has an off day and can't hit a particular maneuver quite right.

Is it any good?

Well produced and expertly shot, you're either going to be interested in the cars and racing subject matter or you're not. If you're a fan of the YouTube videos that Block has produced or if you like watching souped up cars go fast and don't mind watching what is essentially a slick, multi-episode commercial for a millionaire's vanity project, than this show is for you. As likable as Ken Block comes across, it's difficult to care about him and his quest to make Gymkhana 10. Due to his status as a wealthy entrepreneur who took up racing as a hobby after making his millions, the stakes here are so incredibly low, they're almost non-existent -- what's the worst thing that could happen if they don't get the shot because of rain? Can't Block just pay for another day of shooting? There's a large amount of context that's left unexplained.

A project like this does make you think: Would this show be more interesting if it was about an industry you had any connection to, for example, filmmaking? Would you watch a 10-episode series about the making of one of the Marvel movies? These are the kinds of questions you might want to ask yourself before sitting down and committing to watching The Gymkhana Files.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of stunt driving and car racing. Why do people like to watch it? Why do you think Ken Block puts his life at risk, driving dangerously in The Gymkhana Files

  • Do you consider stunt driving to be a sport? Why or why not? 

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love cars

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