A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series promotes curiosity and empathy by giving viewers an understanding of people from all different walks of life, spotlighting what makes them unique without an air of judgment.
Positive Role Models
Some of the people featured are positive role models, some aren't, but there is always something to learn.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief partial nudity. A segment set in an art class shows a full rear shot of a nude female model, including a side view of her breast. Sex and romantic relationships are referenced.
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Sporadic usage of "ass," "hell," "s--t," "bitch," "damn," and "f--k." Occasional obscene hand gestures.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention of drug use and underage drinking. Some subjects drink and smoke in front of the camera.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that This American Life is a fascinating, thought-provoking documentary series (based on the NPR mainstay) that covers a wide range of topics and includes interviews with people from virtually all walks of life, making episode content difficult to predict. Depending on the topics -- and the participants -- alcohol and tobacco use is shown, partial nudity is possible, and language (which is never edited) can be strong. While the content probably isn't new to teens, it's definitely on the iffy side for anyone younger. On the positive side, the unscripted stories about everyday lives promote human connectedness and empathy.
Is It Any Good?
As the interviewer, Glass takes a backseat to his subjects' first-person accounts, interjecting only occasionally with a question or comment and adding thought-provoking voice-over narration throughout. His honest, introspective style and the show's captivating cinematography combine to support the sincere emotions of these funny, sad, curious, and heartwarming stories. The reality of This American Life may well entertain, inspire, and touch you in a way that few other shows do. If your teens are ready for intermittent strong language and possible nudity, ask them to join you while you watch. You'll be amazed at the stories and gain new perspective on people of all walks of life.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.