A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This competition celebrates working class people in labor-intensive jobs, but sometimes does so in a way that criticizes those who don't get their "hands dirty" and whose callouses come from a gym and not on a job site. Sexism is a theme. There's some stereotypical messages about what the working class labor force is like.
Positive Role Models
Participants are of various genders, ages, and racial/ethnic backgrounds. Contestants can be very supportive of their teammates, but sometimes the pressure leads to some catty -- and sometimes subtly sexist -- behavior. Women often reveal how they've had to overcome sexist attitudes to succeed at their jobs.
Violence & Scariness
Yelling and screaming is sometimes used as a way to push team members during competitions. There are some occasional disagreements between cast members. Some of the challenges are potentially dangerous if not done correctly, but contestants wear safety gear.
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Words like "ass" are used. Curses are muted, and mouths are blurred.
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Products & Purchases
The Ford Company is a major sponsor of the show, and its logo and trucks are showcased. The winner receives a Ford truck.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
On occasion, contestants drink beverages from containers that look like beer bottles, but whether or not it’s alcohol isn’t clear.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tough as Nails is a reality competition that celebrates the hard work of people in labor-intensive jobs. It sends positive messages about the importance of these jobs, and the value of the people who work them, but sometimes does so in a way that feels insulting or relies on stereotypes to get the message across. There's some occasional strong words (like "ass") but curses are muted and mouths are blurred. Team members yell at each other during competitions, and on occasion people get into mild disagreements. The Ford Company is a major sponsor of the show, and its logo and trucks are visible.
Is It Any Good?
This series, which is inspired by Phil Keoghan's working class family, is designed to celebrate the people who work the labor-intensive jobs that keep the United States running. The challenges, which range from laying down railroad tracks to carefully maneuvering warehouse pallet trucks, are intended to show how strong and mentally tough they have to be to do this kind of work on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the contestants share their backstories and demonstrate their commitment to their jobs, families, and in some cases, the country.
These are all positive messages, but Tough as Nails sometimes offers them while subtly criticizing those who make their living and spend their time differently. Meanwhile, it relies on a lot of stereotypical tropes to represent the "traditional" way of thinking about the American working class, such as pointing out their willingness to "get dirty" and featuring a heavy duty Ford truck as a desired prize. It's entertaining enough when compared to other reality competitions, but no doubt its narrative will ruffle some viewers' feathers.
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.