Wreckreation Nation

Common Sense Media says

Showcase of unusual pastimes mixes fun, some danger.

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While there are occasional positive messages about being true to yourself and facing your fears, there's also some gender stereotyping -- including the host putting himself down by saying that he's been screaming like a little girl and talking about men being particularly interested in motors and racing things (even though the episode in question featured a woman racer).

Violence

Scenes show boxing, fake fighting (including a historical re-enactment), setting off fireworks, wrestling alligators, and more -- and in the alligator segment, one women does get bit (it's shown). The good news is that you can generally see this type of content coming if you want to avoid it. But either way, none of it is mean-spirited or malevolent.

Sex

There's no sex, per se, but there are a few off-color jokes. The host compares a souped-up lawnmower to Viagra, and in an alligator wrestling segment, he refers to wearing a groin protector so that he has some protection if the gator bites his private parts (the instructor informs him that the cup will do little beyond providing the gator with a plate).

Language

Occasional bleeped-out words. In one episode, one of the bleeped words shows up in the subtitles as "s***."

Consumerism

Lots of logos in the racing segments because there are lots of logos on the racers' clothing and the machines -- it's part of that world. But while it's hard to miss the Ford logo on someone's shirt, it's also not specifically focused on in any way. In other segments, there are no logos/brands.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There's the odd joke about getting drunk -- in one case, a woman says that she doesn't drink, but if she wins a race, she'll start that night -- but alcoholic beverages and cigarettes aren't typically shown. The host makes a joke about a souped-up lawnmower being a replacement for Viagra.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that many of the activities featured in this show about unusual pastimes are dangerous, and the danger is frequently shown. In one segment, for example, a woman is bitten by an alligator (though the injury is minor), and the bite is shown repeatedly. Sensitive viewers will be able to tell when the potentially iffy bits coming and avoid them, but none of it is mean-spirited, so it probably won't upset most tweens. Still, if you've got kids who are prone to copying what they see on television, you may want to watch along with them and provide reality checks as necessary.

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What's the story?

In WRECKREATION NATION, host Dave Mordal runs around the country seeking out unusual (and often dangerous) ways that folks pass the time or have fun -- such as racing lawnmowers, participating in historical re-enactments, setting up a tug of war across the Mississippi River, or even chess boxing (which is apparently pretty popular in Europe). In most cases, Mordal jumps in enthusiastically, learning the ins and outs of whatever activity is on tap.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

In some respects, the show seems like a slightly smarter version of "Stupid Human Tricks." Mordal is a genial host and guinea pig. He tries pretty much everything he covers (though he didn't do the chess boxing), even if he's scared. In the alligator wrestling segment, for example, he confesses to a morbid fear of reptiles -- and though he complains every step of the way (can you really blame him?), he does get in there and wrestles a couple of small gators.

That the participants are all very passionate about their hobbies (even those that are, frankly, life threatening) is
fun -- in fact, their enthusiasm is the best part of the show. You might think wrestling a gator is pretty nuts, but you've got to give a lot of credit to someone who gets bitten and still jumps right back in to try again (it puts a whole new spin on learning from your mistakes. You might not want to race a lawnmower, but, watching the show, you can see why some folks might.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what a show like this teaches viewers. Is it meant to be educational or simply entertaining? Kids: What kinds of hobbies do you have that other people might find unusual? Also, do you think it's a good idea to show potentially dangerous hobbies like pocket bike racing and alligator wrestling on television, even if the danger is pointed out?

TV details

Cast:Dave Mordal
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of Wreckreation Nation was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byalgv7 January 7, 2009
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