Untying the Knot

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Untying the Knot TV Poster Image
Divorce reality full of anger and assets.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It highlights how assets are tied to the emotions couples have, as well as how their desire to hold on to them often reflects the anger they have towards each other. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Couples are going through difficult times and are not always at their best. They sometimes seem angry, greedy, and resentful. The tension between couples leads to some insult hurling and name calling.


Arguing and catty exchanges sometimes take place between couples. One person makes a veiled reference to wanting to kill his spouse. 


Extra-marital affairs are alluded to during meetings; people's sex lives (or lack thereof) are referenced, but not in great detail.  


Words like "hell" and "piss" audible; curses like "s--t" are bleeped. 


Ziegler drives a Mercedes-Benz. The couples are arguing over expensive pieces, including Louis Vuitton, Channel, and other designer items.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The partying lifestyle of some couples are mentioned. References are sometimes made to drinking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Untying the Knot includes mature themes as it focuses on wealthy divorcing couples going through arbitration to divide some of their prized assets. Expect references to extra-marital affairs, mild sexual innuendo, and expressions of anger and bitterness. Words like "hell" and "piss" are audible (stronger curses bleeped). The show includes some constructive information about how to think about assets acquired before, during, and after a marriage, but the overall series sends unsettling messages about marriage, and how materialism can play a major part in relationships. 

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What's the story?

UNTYING THE KNOT is a reality series that follows divorce attorney and mediator Vikki Ziegler as she helps couples who have decided to call it quits, but who cannot agree on who will keep some key assets that were acquired during their marriage. After consulting with the couple to determine what the assets are and why they neither of them want to let go of the material items, Ziegler calls on appraisers Michael and Mark Millea to determine the actual monetary value of the items that the couples are fighting over. Once the amounts are determined, Ziegler determines how the property will be divided between them. During her final arbitration meeting with the couple, she shares her decision and hopes that they will agree to the deal rather dragging out the divorce by going to court. Throughout it all, Ziegler and the Millea brothers offer information and occasional advice about how to think about and handle assets before and during a marriage in order to avoid these kinds of problems in the future.

Is it any good?

Untying the Knot reveals the wide-variety of material assets -- from engagement rings and works of art, to real estate investments, and even a wooden Buddha statue -- that become points of contention between divorcing couples. It also shows how, in divorce proceedings, people are unable to make logical decisions about the division of their assets thanks to their emotional attachments to them. But what creates some of the show's more climactic moments are when couples learn about the actual market value of their coveted assets, which is usually much less than they expect.

The couples featured appear somewhat amicable on camera, but the undercurrent of tension between them, the quiet exchange of insults, and occasional calmly-voiced threats, reveal some very toxic relationships. Meanwhile, the couples often appear extremely materialistic. There are things than can be learned here, but the fact that people's divorce proceedings are the subjects of this entertainment-oriented reality show is what makes it fundamentally disturbing. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about marriage and divorce. Did you know that 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce? Why? What are the consequences of getting a divorce? Who is impacted? What are some of the challenges? Are there any benefits to people legally ending their marriage?

  • Is this series meant to educate viewers? Or is it produced only to be entertaining?

  • Are there any subjects that are inappropriate for reality shows to focus on?

TV details

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