We Are the Champions

TV review by
Marina Gordon, Common Sense Media
We Are the Champions TV Poster Image
Quirky competition show highlights skills, has language.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

In treating the championships of niche interests as Super Bowls, the series celebrates finding one's passions (regardless how obscure), working to be the best you can be, and treating fellow competitors with respect.

Positive Role Models

The common thread among these champions is finding a passion, training consistently to improve, and in some cases channeling pain, prejudice, or recovery into their chosen "sport." Over the course of the six episodes, a range of races, ages, genders, and sexualities are represented. Some of the activities parents might not want to see their children imitate, e.g., tumbling down a very steep hill (ambulances are at that competition in England for a reason), eating the world's hottest chilies, or forcing frogs to race.

Violence

Though not violent, per se, the first two episodes show competitions that are inherently dangerous. In the opening episode, competitors run, tumble, roll, and fall down a 45-degree-grade hill. The second episode focuses on people who compete to eat the hottest chilies on the planet -- most are shown vomiting when they can no longer handle the heat.

Sex
Language

Competitors' language can get spicy when talking about their passions. Expect to hear various forms of "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism

Particularly in the chili-eating world, there's a lot of emphasis on YouTube followings.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that We Are the Champions is a 6-part series that features obscure competitions and people at their pinnacle. These passions may seem silly (chasing cheese down a hill, eating hot chilis, yo-yo-ing) but the participants' dedication can get dangerous (e.g., one winning cheese-chaser broke her collarbone and returns for more; chili-eaters talk about the pain involved and routinely puke). Competitors sometimes swear ("f--k," "s--t"). For parents concerned about social media, YouTube fame is discussed in some of the segments. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStrider75 December 6, 2020

Funny and weird

No idea why this got such a high ma rating on Netflix, it’s much better for kids then most of the ones rated 14 so I’m baffled. I heard 1 total f bomb in the en... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 25, 2020

LOVE THIS!

It's great! I have only seen three episodes, but i love it already!!! Mild violence and language. Nothing too bad.

What's the story?

Part documentary, part sports show, part reality TV, and part comedy, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS is a hybrid that spotlights niche competitions -- cheese rolling, chili eating, fantasy hair styling, yo-yo-ing, dog dancing, and frog jumping. The comedy comes courtesy of narration from Rainn Wilson (who also executive produced) that slyly combines the "everything is on the line" commentary of pro sports and the Olympics with lighthearted, sarcastic humor and impressive cinematography and editing.

Is it any good?

Viewers bored by sports might give this series a pass based merely on the title, but they'd be missing a quirky, smart, funny, exciting show that celebrates finding your passion, no matter how niche. The six-episode series We Are the Champions does kick off with the most demanding physical competition, wherein participants in a small English village chase a wheel of cheese down an extremely steep hill. This is seriously visceral stuff -- bones are broken, people are hospitalized, and the winners are town legends -- but it also weaves the community together in a way that an annual parade wouldn't. Another episode focuses on a chili-eating contest hosted by the Guinness record-winning inventor of the world's hottest chili pepper. Kids thrall to YouTube chili pepper challenges, for better or worse, and here both that bravado and that barf is on display. Once we dig into the participants stories, though, we learn the role that these extremes play: one Australian competitor, Brianna, is transgender, and describes how "discrimination and hate gets pushed into eating the chilis." After she leaves the competition she says, "The acceptance and support from these people has been absolutely inspiring." Bella, another competitor, reveals that many who take to competitive chili eating are in recovery from substance abuse, and says that the hobby teaches that "there are no limits to what a person can do."

Executive producer Wilson's sometimes wry, sometimes reverent narration and the excellent cinematography make the series feel more like Wes Anderson mini-movies than the short segments on the local news where they'd usually appear. The producers and directors cast the show well, focusing on the characters who both win and have fascinating backstories. At the end of each episode, after we've learned the significance these unusual pursuits have for the participants, they pose for portraits as Wilson waxes philosophical. In the chili episode, for example: "The Buddhists say that to live is to suffer. And to thrive is to find meaning in that suffering...when we emerge, we are lighter, we are stronger, we are wiser. And we are forever the champions." Yes, it can feel a little heavy-handed but after spending 30 minutes getting to know the competitors, you'll allow them a victory lap. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why some types of competition/sports get more media coverage than others. How does that affect their popularity or importance?

  • How does the narration in We Are the Champions change how you see the competitions and competitors?

  • How do some of the competitors mentor others who could be their competition? Why is it important to have role models?

TV details

  • Premiere date: November 17, 2020
  • Cast: Rainn Wilson
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-MA
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: April 7, 2021

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