Ton of Cash

TV review by
Elka Karl, Common Sense Media
Ton of Cash TV Poster Image
Crass reality game show has no redeeming value.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show forces contestants to work together to complete challenges, but only one will actually win. This leads to backstabbing, poor sportsmanship, and general meanness. The contestants are motivated completely by money and will embarrass themselves and act cruelly or unfairly to get it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The contestants engage in promiscuous behavior, binge drinking, verbal abuse, physical abuse, and poor sportsmanship at nearly every turn. Rational decision making, kindness to others, and cooperation are rarely seen. 


Many incidents of verbal confrontations and aggression, as well as actual physical fighting among contestants. 


A variety of sexual activity and innuendo. One male contestant pretends to give oral sex to a banana. Another says that a fellow contestant is a bitch, but he'd "still bang her." A female contestant uses a quarter apparently hidden in her vagina (calling it the "coochie quarter") to make an elimation decision. Contestants make out with each other on camera and have sex that's partially obscured (no sensitive body parts shown). 


Constant swearing, including "bitch," all possible iterations of "f--k" (bleeped), "ass," and more. Derogatory name calling, including "f-g," is also common.


The camera lingers on beer labels.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent drinking and some smoking. Drinking includes sparkling wine out of a bottle, mixed drinks, and beer. Conversations about getting wasted.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this hybrid reality/game show features extensive swearing (though the strongest words are bleeped), poor sportsmanship, sexually promiscuous behavior, frequent drinking, and absolutely terrible role models (the contestants are motivated by cash and don't seem to be capable of behaving kindly). While a few of the contestants appear to have a more keenly honed sense of ethics, the majority of the competing twentysomethings display a complete lack of ethical behavior. 

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What's the story?

In TON OF CASH, debt-ridden contestants compete for a literal ton of cash that they must transport from Los Angeles to Las Vegas via foot, boat, sled, and other primitive modes of transportation. Contestants are timed on each leg of the journey and lose any cash that doesn't make it over the finish line within the allotted timeline.

Is it any good?

Ton of Cash and its cast of despicable contestants might serve as a good example of what not to say, do, or think. Other than that, it's best avoided. Every manifestation of possible bad behavior occurs on the show, from homophobic commentary to a well-endowed woman noting that she'll happily use what the plastic surgeon gave her to win the show. One contestant displays his sense of gameplay by noting, "When I was younger I learned to work smarter, not harder, and by smarter, I mean get other people to do it." This comment represents the general attitude of each of the contestants.


While viewers aren't likely looking to a VH1 reality game show as their personal moral compass, this show is completely lacking any kind of ethics. Some contestants are on the show to pay for their children and plastic surgery, while others have been beaten up for sleeping with someone's boyfriend and have extensive medical bills. While one contestant suggests, "Let's get wasted and have a good time," this show offers anything but a good time for viewers. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the nature of reality shows. Do you think that what's been filmed is the entire story? How do you think producers might manipulate footage to make contestants look better or worse? Why would they?

  • What do you think of the contestants' behavior? Do you think they're naturally this selfish, foul mouthed, and mean? If not, why would they act this way on camera?

  • What do you think of these contestants' decisions to try to solve their debt problems by participating in a game show? Are there better ways to fix their money problems?

TV details

  • Premiere date: August 17, 2011
  • Cast: Dhani Jones
  • Network: VH1
  • Genre: Game Shows
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: September 19, 2019

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