A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Jackass-esque reality show is full of crude sexual humor, dangerous stunts, and cursing. In each episode, the three stars/hosts ham it up in a fraternity-like atmosphere; they watch footage of extreme sports from across the globe, mock them mercilessly (giving the show a real mean streak) and then try to re-enact the stranger exploits at home. While it's somewhat interesting to see how other cultures blow off steam, the re-enactments serve as a way for the guys to make fun of others, rather than an attempt to actually understand their traditions. Kids may need to be reminded that, unlike the show's hosts, they should not be recreating stunts they see on TV at home.
What's the story?
Yet another Jackass wannabe, WILD WORLD OF SPIKE follows its three hyperactive hosts as they watch bizarre sporting events from around the world and then try them out at home. In each episode, four-time World Muay Kickboxing Champion Kit Cope, professional skateboarder Jason Ellis, and comedian Sam Tripoli view and make fun of extreme and/or odd sporting events from across the globe -- including sumo suit wrestling, cactus fighting, and naked polar plunging. After tossing out lots of crude jokes (in one episode in which they watched Japanese men ride a large tree trunk down a hill, one of the guys commented "Maybe they're making up for their small packages by riding a big one," for example), the three pick out a handful of stunts to reenact. This leads to further joke-cracking and uproarious laughter as they attempt such feats as submerging themselves in a bathful of icy water (naked except for a strategically placed smiley-face icon) like the folks in Urdz, Antarctica, do; kicking each other in the crotch a la those who practice Roshambo in Nimrod, Arkansas; and hurling tomatoes at each other like the denizens of Bunol, Spain.
Is it any good?
Sadly, Wild World of Spike does little to further any real learning about the cultures whose stunts are being borrowed. The segments are often crude (in the Roshambo segment, the trio asked a female porn star to do the crotch-kicking honors), and there's plenty of cursing, stereotyping, and objectification of women involved. Those who live for frat-boy antics will delight in Wild World of Spike; everyone else should tune out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what drives people to do stunts like these. Why is it almost always men who participate in this kind of show? What's the difference between daring and bad taste? Where do you draw the line? Is it OK to get a laugh at someone else's expense? Are the guys' jokes funny or immature (or both)? Families can also discuss understanding other ethnicities and cultures. Why is it important to embrace differences rather than mock them? What are the different ethnicities/backgrounds in your community, and how do they celebrate their culture?