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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that World of Jenks -- a documentary series that follows filmmaker Andrew Jenks as he lives with strangers to learn more about their lives -- explores some mature topics, including child abandonment, homelessness, racism, violence, alcoholism, and more. But it does so with the express purpose of learning more about people to better understand them. You can also expect some strong language (though the strongest words are bleeped), sexual innuendo, and drinking (beer, hard liquor). Some of the people Jenks gets to know have violent pasts; occasionally, arguing, pushing, shoving, and hitting are visible.
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What's the story?
WORLD OF JENKS follows award-winning young filmmaker Andrew Jenks as he moves in with total strangers to learn the untold stories of their lives. In each episode, Jenks spends a week living, traveling, and interacting with a person he’s never met before -- like a New York City rapper, an incarcerated juvenile, or a young homeless woman in San Francisco. He also talks to each subject's friends and family. And at the end of each week, he describes some of the insight that he's gained from the overall experience.
Is it any good?
The show has a lot to offer, but the half-hour episodes don't allow enough time to fully appreciate what Jenks learns from each experience. And viewers don’t really get enough time to familiarize themselves with the people Jenks shadows either. But overall, the series is an interesting -- and insightful -- look at the lives of people throughout America.
World of Jenks follows the in the storytelling footsteps of Jenks’ critically acclaimed film Andrew Jenks, Room 335, which documented his time living in a senior assisted living facility at the age of 19. Like the film, the show offers viewers a unique chance to gain a better, more perceptive understanding of people’s lives -- without relying on preconceived notions and/or stereotypes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about documentaries. How is a "documentary series" different than a "reality show"? Is one inherently more trustworthy or truthful? Why? In which category would you put World of Jenks?
Do you think Jenks’ way of learning about people’s lives is effective? What are some of the challenges associated with his strategy? Is there someone you'd like to move in with to learn more about?
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