Truth Be Told

TV review by
Anne Louise Bannon, Common Sense Media
Truth Be Told TV Poster Image
Embarrassing problems more uncomfortable than informative.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

If anything, these are cautionary tales, even if they seem a tad exploitive and don't really get into the realm of treatment/solutions in much depth.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some of the people being profiled see that they have a problem and are working to fix it. But others can't see the truth and continue to contribute to their situation. For example, an episode about hoarding features a man who swears he's merely a collector because his sutff is organized ... but simultaneously berates his wife for her hoarding while refusing to let her throw things away.


Some episodes touch on embarrassing medical conditions, which raises the possibility of clinical sex talk.


Words like "ass" are audible; those like "f--k" and "s--t" are bleeped (but you can still sometimes see/tell what's being said). Overall, swearing is infrequent, and much of it isn't that surprising justified given the situation.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series about people who suffer from challenges like hoarding, obsession, and problematic medical conditions is much less informative than it is exploitive. The show's "cinema verite" style means that viewers get an unvarnished look at the people being profiled, and their behavior isn't exactly exmplary all the time -- some swear, and some family members are unsympathetic and/or enabling.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written by9001 January 1, 2010

Iffy for 14-16

In at least one episode, there was some mature s**ual content. Almost every episode seems to be rated TV-14-D for intensely s**ual dialogue.

What's the story?

TRUTH BE TOLD is a series of short documentaries about people who have various disorders and problems -- including hoarding, addiction to plastic surgery, obssesive compulsive disorder, and obsession with pets. It's shot strictly as cinema verite, with no interviews. Indeed, with rare exceptions, it's as if the camera crew is merely a fly on the wall, observing the situation.

Is it any good?

Unfortunately, due to that same lack of interviews and narration, the show comes off as somewhat exploitive. On the plus side, there's no makeover team coming in to "make everything all right" -- but on the down side, there's no information about why people have these issues, and no suggestions for ways to deal with these sorts of challenges effectively.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether this show seems more realistic than other "reality" series. Why? Do you think it was filmed as it actually happened, or could some of it be re-enacted? Does that make a difference?

  • Why do people with embarrassing problems decide to broadcast them on television? Would you ever do that?

  • What can a show like this teach us about being healthy?

TV details

  • Premiere date: August 12, 2009
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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