The Shop

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
The Shop TV Poster Image
LeBron James leads candid convos in a barbershop setting.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It may be laced with profanity, but there are definitely some positive messages to be had: Discussions touch on issues of racial and gender inequality, good sportsmanship, the responsibilities of parenthood.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Guests include professional athletes, musicians, performers at the top of their game, who show a different side to themselves in frank conversations. Not everyone can relate to pressures of worldwide fame, but hearing about perseverance and hard work it takes to get there is something that's applicable to anyone, whatever the end goal. James talks openly about being discriminated against, despite being a renowned basketball star, and how speaking his truth when it comes to social issues is ultimately more important than popularity.

Violence

Discussions of police brutality and violence.

Sex
Language

All the garden-variety swear words are used here, including a full array of "F" words. The "N" word is also used, in discussions about race and discrimination.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some of the barbershop patrons drink while they're chatting, but it isn't at the forefront of the show.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Shop is a talk show hosted and produced by LeBron James. Although the focus is on professional athletes, other guests include rappers, comedians, and more. The show is filmed in barbershops around the country, and some guests are seen drinking alcohol while they chat. The language and topics are decidedly adult, though mature older teens may find the discussions about politics and race relations enlightening.

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What's the story?

THE SHOP seeks to emulate the intimate conversational free-for-all that is the traditional African American barbershop experience -- only these conversations are led by basketball legend LeBron James, and the folks hanging around the shop are an array of sports and entertainment superstars like Snoop Dogg, NY Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Daily Show's Jon Stewart, and Candace Parker of the LA Sparks. The guests and the barbershops change with each episode, with discussion topics running the gamut from politics and race relations to gender inequality and parenthood.

Is it any good?

Eschewing a traditional talk show setup for the casual camaraderie of a barbershop sets the stage for more freewheeling and candid conversations, and you're likely to see a different side to the stars you may know only from their public image. Hearing a cast filled with black males of varying ages, and from various professions, weigh in on the commonality of their shared experiences with discrimination -- despite any perceived "superstar" status they may have -- makes for a powerful viewing experience. Jon Stewart appears in the debut episode as the resident elder comedy statesman, while LA Sparks basketball forward Candace Nelson discusses the societal (and self-imposed) pressures of being a working mom.

While the format of this show isn't exactly new (there have been at least two other reality-based shows that use the barbershop format), so far LeBron's The Shop shows the most potential to be an entertaining, funny, and sometimes poignant look at our culture and the personalities that are helping to shape it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way The Shop's casual, "we're just hanging out" atmosphere makes it easier for people to discuss important and sensitive topics. Do you think the guests would speak as freely if the show were formatted in a more traditional "talk show"-type way? Why or why not?

  • Some people want public figures such as LeBron James to -- as he remarks on the show -- "shut up and dribble" instead of speaking out on various social issues. Is it appropriate for a celebrity like James to discuss controversial issues like race or religion? What do you think makes a celebrity a good role model for a community?

TV details

For kids who love talk shows

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