A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series highlights how difficult living with OCD is, and how treatment can help some people suffering from the disorder regain control of their lives. But underlying the positive messages are some questions about why the show's participants are choosing to expose their private lives to the world.
Positive Role Models
Dr. David Tolin is committed to helping people with anxiety disorders, but at times he is subtly self-promotional. The participants are trying hard to overcome their problems (and have also chosen to expose themselves to public scrutiny, for better or worse).
Violence & Scariness
Contains descriptions of people getting killed in hit-and-run accidents. Treatments include reenactments of violent events. Patients are shown compulsively doing things that cause them physical discomfort.
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Contains lots of strong language; words like "Goddamn," "bulls--t," "s--t," and "f--k" are bleeped.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this voyeuristic but informative series features people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder receiving intense (and at times unconventional) treatments. It contains discussions about frightening and/or tragic events (like the hit-and-run death of a parent) in order to find the source of the patients' behaviors. Participants use some strong language ("Goddamn," "s--t," and "f--k" are all bleeped). The overall series may be too intense for tweens, but because the disorder often manifests itself in childhood, parents might want to watch with their teens and discuss some of the issues that come up here.
Is It Any Good?
The series highlights the debilitating effects of OCD, which has the potential to cause people to lose complete control over their lives. It reveals some of the reasons why people develop it, which often include traumatic childhood experiences. It also shows how some OCD sufferers may have other psychiatric issues that often go untreated because of their struggle with the disorder.
The show is informative, but it is also uncomfortably voyeuristic, especially when patients are shown being overcome by their compulsions. Tolin's methods, which he claims are intended to produce major life-changing results in a short period of time, sometimes seem a little over-the-top. The high expectations he places on his patients and on his treatments (like licking shoes and throwing fake babies at moving cars) might also leave viewers questioning some of the motives behind the show. This aside, the series successfully underscores how difficult it is to lives with OCD, and the efforts that are being made to help people overcome it. While not a perfect educational tool, parents might find the show a useful conversation starter for an issue that usually manifests itself in the early years.
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