A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Hero is a reality series featuring people competing in dangerous action hero-like stunts for charity and for a major cash prize. It offers some confusing messages about what being a hero is that not every family will agree with. Fans of host Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will be drawn to it, but the strong language and heated arguments between cast members make it more suitable for older tweens and teens. Viewers of all ages should be reminded to never try these stunts at home.
What's the story?
THE HERO is a competition series that seeks to find a new American hero. Hosted by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the show features nine contestants from all walks of life coming together in Panama, Central America, to compete in a series of challenges designed to test them physically, mentally, and morally. Each episode features a team challenge and a solo challenge, requiring contestants to engage in activities like rappelling down giant buildings, crawling through bunkers in pitch darkness, and entering vans filled with tear gas. A successful team challenge earns $10,000 for the Red Cross, and extra time for the solo challenge. The group then selects the "hero" of the team challenge to compete for an additional $10,000 to be added to the grand prize pot. The catch? The chosen hero can decide to secretly keep the money s/he wins. Meanwhile, temptations are put in front of individual contestants to win additional cash for themselves, often at the expense of their teammates. At the end of the competition, TV audience members will use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to decide on the person who will win the grand prize.
Is it any good?
Johnson, who is the show's executive producer, claims that the series is designed to test each person's courage, strength, integrity, and willingness to sacrifice themselves to determine if this makes them a hero. But most of the show's entertainment value comes from the over-the-top stunts that the teams must complete, and the arguments that break out between the cast -- especially when contestants choose to keep money for themselves.
The Hero's constant focus on money makes it seem more centered on greed than generosity, despite the donations that are being given to charity thanks to its efforts. It also creates an atmosphere where unselfish behaviors are often viewed with suspicion. Reality competition fans will be drawn to the show's Hollywood-like action sequences and voyeuristic moments, but the overall series offers disturbingly distorted messages about what being a hero really is.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what heroism means. What makes someone heroic? Is it their physical strength? Their intelligence? Their behavior? Who are some of your personal heroes? Why do you consider them to be heroic?
How does the media characterize what and who is heroic? Who are some of the most famous heroes in film and television? Are media heroes similar to those in our every day lives?
Teens: How do you deal with sexist comments? What effect do these kinds of comments have on the target and the bystanders?
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