Parents' Guide to

The Push

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Sensational social experiment raises ethical questions.

The Push Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Disturbing, thought-provoking, sticks with you

Obviously not for children, I would say teenagers aged 16 should watch this with their parents. Discussion of how easily people are convinced to do things out of their nature in order to conform to society or peer pressure would be beneficial to parents and kids alike. My son is 15 and I watched this without him for now. What the unwitting participants do is excruciating to watch and actually made me cry at times. But at the same time it is worth the viewing in order to see how easily people can be manipulated. Even though the participants are all adults, It could help older teens see how peer pressure and lack of confidence in oneself can cause one to make horrible decisions.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This disturbing, host-centered reality special, which aired in the U.K. as Derren Brown: Pushed to the Edge in 2016, seeks to demonstrate how easily people give up control over their own lives. It also underscores how dangerous it can be when it is allowed to happen. But while these messages are important, Brown's process appears to violate the ethical standards of psychological research established after the infamous 1960 Milgram Experiment, which was designed to pressure people to cause harm in the name of science. Meanwhile, the potential for watching someone shove a person off a building (supposedly to his or her death) on a reality show also raises major ethical concerns.

Perhaps as a way of deflecting these complaints, Brown continually reminds viewers that the goal of the experiment is to highlight the problems that come with giving up autonomous control over one's life. But the show is meant to be more entertaining than educational, and purposely builds suspense among viewers by mainly focusing on one subject, and counting down the minutes until that subject must make the decision to commit murder. The Push may be different from anything you've seen before, but it also makes you wonder how far reality television will go to captivate audiences.

TV Details

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