Total Drama Island

Common Sense Media says

Clever cartoon reality show spoof OK for older tweens.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

It's all meant to be taken as satire, but there's plenty of iffy behavior on display -- from mocking positive values to rudeness to poor sportsmanship.

Positive role models

Teen contestants can't trust their host or one another, are rude to one another, compete in unsportsmanlike ways, etc. -- but then, that's exactly the kind of behavior being satirized here. The characters are all pretty stereotypical (again, it's part of the humor).


Most "violence" comes in the form of dangerous challenges forced on teen contestants by the supposed adult in charge, although characters do threaten one another, grab one another, and throw one another out of doors, etc. -- never with any ill affect. No weapons.


Mild innuendo and "I'd like a bunk under her"-style jokes.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated series is meant for kids old enough to watch -- and appreciate -- a satire of reality shows like Survivor; those too young to get the joke likely won't find it very funny. There's some mild innuendo, characters can be rude to each other, and, of course, they're often made to suffer indignities and ridiculously difficult and dangerous "challenges." But there's little that's blatantly iffy beyond occasional fart jokes.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND is a cartoon satire of reality shows like Survivor. The intentionally one-dimensional teen characters are thrown together in a summer camp setting, then broken up into teams and presented with challenges by their host. At the end of most episodes, someone's voted out and sent home.

Is it any good?


The best thing about Total Drama Island is that its knowing wink encompasses everyone -- viewers and characters alike. Many characters know that they're there to play their stereotypical roles (geek, tough kid, big sassy African-American girl, etc.), and they do so with one eye on the camera. The joke isn't just on reality shows -- it's on reality shows as they've become now, populated with students of the genre who are all trying to game the system. The show's theme song, "I Wanna Be Famous," says it all.

For all its satiric qualities, Total Drama Island actually manages to pull viewers in. There's a contest at the core, and kids who tune in for the spoof may find themselves caught up in finding out which character will manage to survive to the end. Overall, it's an enjoyable, smart show for anyone old enough to watch "real" reality TV.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what parts of reality shows this series is making fun of. Is it just the shows themselves, or also they way they're cast and created?

  • The characters are purposely presented as one-dimensional stereotypes -- because that's what producers of real reality shows often do to people through judicious editing. If someone only filmed and showed certain moments in your day, could they make you look mean or whiny? Why would someone want to focus on those parts of your character for a reality show?

TV details

Cast:Christian Potenza, Drew Nelson, Megan Fahlenbock
Network:Cartoon Network
Genre:Kids' Animation
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of Total Drama Island was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 2 and 9 year old Written byValeriemae March 7, 2011

I will never let my child watch this again

HORRIBLE SHOW NEEDS TO BE CANCELED. One female character wears a tank top that barely covers her very large breasts. Also often shows the male characters with nothing but a black box over his privates. Also uses language my kid is not allowed to use ie "crap" not ok
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bylispartans August 13, 2009

fine for eight and up

this show is fine. i have no problem with it. do you people even know what kids say in school? even at age nine.
Teen, 13 years old Written bypg13rnc17 May 20, 2011


What other families should know
Great messages


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?


What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide