My Review of Beyond Scared Straight

23 Jul

July 23, 2013

Have I ever told you that I love my TiVo? It really is great. I never know what I am going to find when I check the Now Playing List. Will it be the newest episode of The Big Bang Theory? A repeat of The Big Bang Theory? A repeat of the newest episode of The Big Bang Theory? You never know, but given that
A- I like The Big Bang Theory and

B- I have a season pass for it and
C- I gave it three thumbs up and
D- TBS and WWOR air it about 39,000 times a day,
it is a good bet I’ll find it on my TiVo.

But there are other shows out there, and if you know TV as well as I know TV, you realize that some of those other shows are almost worth watching. Take for example this show which I saw on my Now Playing list:                       DSCN2177

“Ferocious Killer Hustle Man attacks an at-risk teen who refuses to comb another prison inmate’s chest hair.”

ALL IN BABY! Never mind the latest episode of Masterpiece Theater, this goes to the top of my viewing list.

I love Beyond Scared Straight. In a nutshell, the show follows “at-risk teens” (i.e.: juvenile delinquents, wannabe gang-bangers, bullies, teen drug abusers and thieves, twelve year old Nazis, etc, etc, etc.) I saw all of this when I was a NYC high school teacher.

I accompanied a group of thugs on a trip to the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility in Staten Island, (what an ironic name, BTW), a medium security prison. I went because I am a straight shooter and will never, ever, under any other circumstances, see the inside of a prison. I am not built for that life.  This was really my chance for a little adventure. And also I had a thing for the guidance counselor running the trip. Not that this impressed Ms. G at all, not for a second. Maybe I should have spoken to her instead.

Anyway, the kids were taken into the jail, put through the metal detector, pat downs, etc, and brought into the jail. They saw the cells, the yard, all of it. The inmates spoke to them and tried to teach them some sense. It worked a little: on the way home some of the kids were spooked silent. (And others were loud and obnoxious. I am sure most of them ended up in there for real. BTW- the prison closed in 2011 so they are all out on the streets. Lucky me.)

At one point I left the group to go to the bathroom. This was a medium security facility and I had to walk through a common area where certain inmates were allowed to roam free. I got halfway across and looked up. The common area was ringed by a large walkway, and the ceiling gave way to a wide open space which allowed a view of the cells on the second level. I was right about in the center of this when I realized that I was alone, inmates were walking all around, and peering down at me were bored inmates who had nothing better to do than attack. There were guards around, but few and far between.

I hustled to the bathroom and back.

We made it out of the prison and back to school. I wanted to leave a few behind but unfortunately the Department of Corrections had other ideas.

Which brings me to Beyond Scared Straight.


On this particular episode, the show went back for the third time to a prison they had taken other groups of kids to. There are always various inmates featured, but there is one “break out star” (hopefully not literally) of the show, Hustle Man.  Here are the descriptions of his previous two appearances. hustle man 2

hustle man 3

This is Hustle Man: 12-hustle-man-talks-to-david

I bet that doughy white kid just about crapped his pants.

My problem with the show is that I never think they go far enough, a lot of the kids know that the inmates will not really lay a finger on them. I would have a plant in the group, a teen who secretly works for the jail, so when he got angry, the inmate could really grab the fake and lay a beating on him. These at-risk darlings need to believe that the prisoners are only a hair’s breadth away from sodomizing them.

So in this episode, Hustle Man tried to intimidate the kids by getting them to comb the chest hair of another inmate. I’ve heard a lot of strange or freaky things that go on in prison, but that was a new one on me. Anyway, If Hustle Man asked me to comb another inmate’s chest hair, I’d comb it, weave it, and ask him if he wanted any styling gel. One of the kids took the comb and, in a scene I guarantee his friends and enemies will replay for him for the rest of his life, he combed the inmate’s chest hair.


The other kid refused and Hustle Man had to be restrained by four or five guards and dragged away. They should have tasered him too, put on more of a show for the teens.


Hustle Man showed up again later in the show to talk to the teens, and if I were running the show I would have brought him back in chains. In fact, I would have gimmicked the chains, and had him snap them like they were toys, burst free, and attack the kid again. Now THAT would show him. 05-26-hustle-man-towers-over-dabriyon

At the end of the show, most of the kids they followed seemed to have turned their lives around, which really disappointed me. Part of the fun of Beyond Scared Straight is guessing the ones who will go back to their old ways and wind up back in jail, this time for real.

I am not sure how Hustle Man got his nickname, but I think that title belongs to the original TV Hustle Man:


2 Responses to “My Review of Beyond Scared Straight”

  1. Demarcus July 28, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    Great review


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