TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
WakeBrothers TV Poster Image
Pro athlete brothers prank and talk sex in reality series.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Brotherly love is on display in WakeBrothers despite all the competitiveness, with sincere/sweet moments peeking through occasionally. The closeness of the Soven family ties is also evident, with frequent appearances by Bob and Phil's mom, dad, and younger brother. However, many of the young men on the show have an extremely cavalier view of women and sex.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The brothers Soven manage to both live and work together, inspiring each other to greater feats of sportsmanship through their towering sibling rivalry. That said, the show doesn't focus much on the hard work that brings them glory in the water, preferring to watch the Sovens carouse, fight, and prank each other. They'd be better role models if they showed more respect toward women.


Wakeboarding is a dangerous sport, and boarders try daredevil stunts with frequent injuries. Bob Soven survived a head injury that put him in a coma several years before the show; images of that injury, with Mrs. Soven talking about how traumatic it was, appear on the show. The Soven brothers' rivalry occasionally extends into fisticuffs, though the pushing and punching is usually playful rather than truly vicious.


Constant, sniggering references to sex include jokes about when someone will lose their "v-card," the color of Bob Soven's pubic hair, and whether someone has "closed" on a particular girl or not. There's a general attitude from the young men on the show that they're trying to see what they can "get" off the girls they know, including naked pictures they can display to friends or surreptitious "boob nudges" during a hug. The show's premise demands that a lot of the action takes place at pools or the ocean, where the camera lingers on body parts, especially those of bikini'd young women.


Some bleeped four-letter words: "she eye-f--ked you" says a friend to Bob at one point. There are references to "boobs" and "happy trails" and profane rank-outs: "I'm going to kick my brother's freaking ass," says Bob.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinks sometimes appear at parties, though no scenes of the Sovens and friends drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that WakeBrothers features constant insults, which range from merely mocking to actually hurtful, as well as some strong language ("f--k" is bleeped). The featured brothers also engage in wakeboarding stunts, which sometimes result in injuries. The most troubling aspect for parents will probably be the near-constant sniggering adolescent references to sex, as when a friend wonders whether Phil Soven has any "nakeds" to show of his girlfriend on his computer, or Bob Soven brags that he plans to lose his "v-card" in his bedroom. Parents may also wish that the show focused a little more on the brothers' athletic accomplishments rather than their pranks and hijinks out of the water. But there are worse shows teens could watch. At least the Sovens have a vocation and a close-knit family to rely on, which is evident despite their sibling rivalry.

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What's the story?

Professional wakeboarding brothers Phil and Bob Soven are the stars of MTV's WAKEBROTHERS, a reality show that follows the Sovens' stunts and hijinks in the Florida mini-mansion they share. Wakeboarding is a sport much like waterskiing, and the Sovens lead the professional ranks in fierce competition with each other. In the water they battle to see who can perform the most death-defying stunts; off the job, they playfully insult each other, throw parties, opine about women and the chance they have with them, and generally live like young, rich, louche bachelors on top of the world.

Is it any good?

The Soven siblings are not without their charms. They're good looking, successful at their job, satisfied with their lives, and clearly very fond of each other and the rest of their family, who often appear at parties or at Bob and Phil's house to offer advice. On the other hand, their adolescent horndog antics are wearying, particularly for parents, who will wince when Bob points at himself and proudly crows "This guy got laid!" while brother Phil says "She was gross!" They also won't be jazzed by Bob wondering whether he can get a "boob squeeze" off a blind date; his brother answers that he might be able to "sneak one in."

Despite the cringe-worthy leers and jokes about women, the brothers can occasionally be sweet to each other, as when Bob buys Phil an apology cake for an early morning prank. On their boards, the brothers are fun to watch if occasionally a bit nerve-wracking, as when a group of male and female wakeboarders tries out a dangerous new piece of equipment at a Soven house party. The main emotion WakeBrothers will arouse in young viewers is probably envy, as the show makes it look like pro athletes do little other than carouse with their friends and occasionally perform stunts for cheering crowds. It's not very realistic reality, but it's confectionery summer fun that goes down smoothly.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why viewers rarely or never see the Sovens practicing wakeboarding on the show. Can an athlete rise to a pro level in a sport without a lot of practice? What does the fact that the viewer doesn't see that practice reflected on WakeBrothers say about the show's "reality" (or lack thereof)?

  • Why would MTV choose to set a show around a sport like wakeboarding, where athletes and those around them are frequently scantily dressed in bathing suits? Would a show about athletes who performed covered up, like skiers, be as interesting/telegenic?

  • Are viewers meant to like the Soven brothers? What about the way they're presented gives you this impression?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

Themes & Topics

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