True Life

TV review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
True Life TV Poster Image
Gritty -- but provoking -- reality show.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

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

Violence
Sex

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

Language

Some bleeping.

Consumerism
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.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that some installments of True Life 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymahilana July 28, 2010

Great show for older teens (16+)

I love this show! Sometimes there's situations that aren't the best but it sticks to the title of the show and really shows people what others are goi... Continue reading
Parent Written byPlague January 7, 2010

True Life

A show I would expect from MTV, dealing with todays youth, and the struggle with teen pregnancies, birth defects, drug issues, and more. A good hard look into t... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bysara4ever95 May 2, 2009

hi

hi every1
Teen, 14 years old Written bysilly_samsters February 11, 2009

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 th... Continue reading

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?

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 in True Life 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about True Life'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?

  • How do the people on True Life inspire compassion and empathy? Why are those important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

For kids who love reality TV

Our editors recommend

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