The T.O. Show

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The T.O. Show TV Poster Image
Reality series tries to re-brand star athlete's iffy rep.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The take-away message is that it's important to clean up your act and lead a responsible life ... although T.O. doesn't always model that message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

In terms of athleticism, T.O. is at the top of his game. But when it comes to his personal life, he's a work in progress. He has a reputation as a troublemaker, but over the course of the show he at least makes an attempt to clean up his act, reconnecting with estranged loved ones and focusing on doing his new job to the best of his ability. He does like to party and goes on occasional big spending sprees (what he calls "throwing money around").

Violence
Sex

Many of the women featured on the show wear revealing clothing, baring cleavage, G-strings, thongs, etc. T.O. is sometimes shirtless. T.O. tends to be flirtatious with women he finds attractive, describing them as "sexy" or "seductive," and he has physical relationships with at least three different women over the course of the series. On at least one occasion, there's a steamy make-out session in a hot tub. There are also some scenes of T.O. and his friends hanging out with Playboy bunnies and in a strip club, although no sensitive body parts are shown.

Language

A good amount of audible swearing, including "damn," "ass," "country-ass" and "bitch-ass." "S--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.

Consumerism

T.O. buys extravagantly from Tiffany & Co., Converse, and more. Once he signs to play for the Buffalo Bills, there's also steady promotion of the Bills brand, and the show itself is basically one big PR campaign for Owens.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional consumption of beer, mixed drinks, wine, and champagne in bars and clubs or at parties. T.O. says one of his goals for the off season is "to party."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series essentially functions as a slickly produced promotion for a professional athlete with a reputation for being a troublemaker. Because of that, you'll see examples of iffy behavior, including excessive shopping, sexually charged flirting, and carousing. But you'll also see Owens trying to overcome those urges to become a more positive role model. Expect regular use of words like "hell," "damn," and "ass" and some use of stronger terms (although they're bleeped).

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What's the story?

Just days after being released from his contract with the Dallas Cowboys and re-signing a trial deal with the Buffalo Bills, professional football star Terrell \"T.O.\" Owens sets out to change his image in THE T.O. SHOW, which follows his life during the off season. Setting him on the straight and narrow are his platonic girlfriends/publicists, Mo and Kita -- who try their best to keep him from partying and fix him back up with his ex-fiancee, Felicia -- and his best friend/bodyguard, Pablo.

Is it any good?

If you like professional football or admire Owens, you might be able to look past the fact that this reality series is one big, obvious re-branding effort that was likely dreamed up by Owens' publicists to help resurrect his career. After all, while it does seem that their friendship with Owens -- whom they describe as their "biggest client" -- is genuine on some level, most of their conversations with him (and each other) are peppered with predetermined talking points designed to get viewers to change the way they think about him.

The show is slickly produced, with better-than-average photography that's miles ahead in terms of quality than, say, Rock of Love. And some of the athlete's spur-of-the-moment antics smack of premeditation, including his decision to invite his "real estate agent" over shortly after he moves into his new bachelor pad ... and then promptly seduces her in the hot tub. Is it really "reality"? Probably not. But these days, that's what's become of the genre.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether or not they consider Owens a role model. Does watching the series change your mind about what kind of person he is?

  • Do you think Owens' publicists pitched this show with an eye on cleaning up his image? Why do you think he agreed to do it? And why do you think the publicists appear so prominently in the series?

  • In terms of physical health and athleticism, do you think Owens takes good care of himself? Is it realistic to expect your own physique to look that way someday?

TV details

For kids who love sports

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