True Life

Common Sense Media says

Gritty -- but provoking -- reality show.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

 

The show offers a look into the world of teens coping with specific issues. It encourages viewers to think.

Positive role models

Some characters drink, smoke, swear, are pregnant, are recovering from drug addiction, etc.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

One episode focuses on "baby mamas" another features sperm donation.

Language

Some bleeping.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One show features smoking (including by a pregnant teen), and another has a central character drinking at a party. Another episode is about prescription drug abuse.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that these installments feature mature material: In one episode, a man makes money by donating sperm, and in another a pregnant teen struggles to retain custody of her child. You may see drinking, smoking, and (bleeped out) swearing.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

TRUE LIFE tackles issues such as young parents dealing with custody fights, students struggling with the prescription drug Adderall, and two men who do bizarre jobs for money. Some of the episodes are meatier than others, but they are all relatively engaging, and can even be thought-provoking.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This is still voyeurism: Viewers are watching people in often desperate situations, and may have an impulse to simply shake their heads as a pregnant teen pulls a drag on a cigarette, or a sideshow freak puts a snake up his nose. But when they get over the thrill of being judgmental, they will find plenty of material that may inspire discussion -- and even activism. The episode about "baby mamas" with custody issues is a good advertisement for safe sex and abstinence; the sideshow freak who bucks stereotypes with his desire to get married and buy a house may encourage a little more tolerance for the different.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this show's purpose. There is certainly a voyeuristic element as we watch people in often desperate situations -- but is there something to be learned from their stories, too? Do you care more about an issue -- such as teen pregnancy, drug addiction, tolerance -- after seeing real people struggling with it?

TV details

Cast:Gideon Yago
Network:MTV
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

This review of True Life 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

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

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

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bysara4ever95 May 2, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 
Teen, 14 years old Written bysilly_samsters February 11, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

WOW!

I think that this is a really good show because they have diffrent type of episodes and it has atleast 3 people that have that problem! I learned alot out of this show! I think MTV should keep on making new ones!
Kid, 11 years old August 15, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

iffy for my age but hidden good messages

i love this show. it acctually teaches lessons but i wouldnt recomend it for younder kids. i think some are kind of poinless. there were a couple like "I wish my breasts were bigger" and "i wish my breasts for smaller and "im addicted to pornagraphy. i didnt really watch those. and also another pointless on was "im bisexual" those were pretty pointless but other ones have good messages that were hidden. also there is kissing and referenses to sex. there is alot of bleeping and the make subtitles for things that are hard to here you can tell what they're saying. its the first letter then its followed by ****
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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