'Til Death Do Us Part

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
'Til Death Do Us Part TV Poster Image
Campy John Waters docudrama says "I do" to murder.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Each episode is about a spouse murdering a spouse and often being mean, deceitful, or unfaithful along the way. Most killers are caught in the end.

Violence

Every episode ends in a murder. In one episode, for example, a wife is murdered by two men who put a plastic bag over her head -- viewers watch as she struggles and then takes her last breath.

Sex

Highly sexual -- without actually showing all that much. For example, in one episode, a couple begins a sexual role-playing encounter and start to remove their clothes, moan loudly, and thump against the wall rhythmically.

Language

"Dammit," "hell," etc.

Consumerism

In one episode, a husband gives his wife a Land Rover to convince her to sleep with him more often.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking, plus some moderately heavy drinking in response to stress.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this docudrama features dramatizations of real-life spousal murders. The element of humor involved adds a campy (or sick, depending on your take) twist to the genre. Some episodes include suggestive sexual behavior (for example, the beginning of a sexual fantasy being played out -- viewers see a couple get riled up and start to take off their clothes and then hear moaning and rhythmic bumping). Married couples behave badly toward each other -- lying, cheating, and, of course, murdering.

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What's the story?

As the tongue-in-cheek title suggests, 'TIL DEATH DO US PART is about real married couples whose wedded bliss ends in tragedy, with one spouse murdering the other. Adding to the camp factor is famous cult film director John Waters, who plays the show's host -- the Groom Reaper. Before the wedding that opens each episode begins, a warning appears to let viewers know that the show's material is based on real events and people, but some characters are composites and some scenes have been altered for dramatic effect. Then the pencil-mustached Waters pops up as a guest at the featured couple's wedding or soon after, introducing the doomed pair with a sly smirk and clever pronouncements. The stories are often quite tawdry, as in one marital murder involving a young, voluptuous wife and an older male doctor who, after murdering the spouse, is apprehended when the body disposal goes horribly -- and almost comically -- wrong.

Is it any good?

Finding humor in real-life tales of abuse and murder is tricky and not for everyone. Some will find 'Til Death Do Us Part sick and deplorable, while others will treat it like any fictional thriller. The acting and writing is mediocre, but it does the job, and you don't expect much more from a show like this anyway. The sexual elements are played up dramatically, and they're definitely not for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ubiquity of murder on television. Do you think the frequency of TV killings desensitizes us to the heinous act? Do you think it makes people more likely to murder someone? Or do you think most TV and film murders are sanitized and that the real thing would be much worse? Do you think we see more women than men killed on TV? Or more black people than white? Or do you think it's pretty evenly distributed? What messages does this show send about marriage? Do you think many married couples behave this way toward each other?

TV details

  • Premiere date: March 19, 2007
  • Cast: John Waters
  • Network: truTV
  • Genre: Drama
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: DVD, Streaming

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