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10 Things I Hate About You
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 teen-targeted series based on the same-named 1999 film includes frequent references to sex -- including comments about girls’ bodies, use of terms like “get laid,” passionate kissing, and mention of teens’ sexual experience. Popularity is a key concern, and one central character uses her social status to terrorize all but her closest friends, and her behavior goes unchecked by her peers and adults. Expect some intermittent strong language (“bitch,” “ass,” and the like) and references to teen drinking (though nothing is shown). Kat and Bianca’s father -- who never wavers in his protection of them, even when they defy him -- is the show's strongest positive role model.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Inspired by the 1999 film of the same name, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU chronicles the struggles of the Stratford sisters, Bianca (Meaghan Jette Martin) and Kat (Lindsey Shaw), as they adapt to a new school. Socialite Bianca longs only for acceptance into Padua High’s popularity nucleus, but when her sharp-tongued, feminist sister butts heads with the school’s self-appointed diva, Chastity (Dana Davis), Bianca knows she has an uphill battle ahead. On the romantic front, Kat’s unruliness turns the head of mysterious Patrick (Ethan Peck), and Bianca is being heavily pursued by resident nice guy Cameron (Nicholas Braun). The only thing the sisters can count on is the persistence of their protective father, Walter (Larry Miller), who will do anything to ensure that they stay safe -- and untouched by the opposite sex.
Is it any good?
This series probably isn’t what Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote The Taming of the Shrew. It’s peppered with bold sexual references and innuendo, many of which come from the teens’ father (though he's otherwise an admirable role model). What’s more, Chastity’s nasty behavior toward her social inferiors raises issues related to tolerance and fairness, and Bianca’s willingness to forego her dignity for social standing sends some iffy messages to tween and teen girls. Add to that the occasional strong language and casual references to teen drinking, and it’s clear that this show (like the movie before it) isn't meant for tweens.
On a positive note, while Kat takes defiance to a new level and is frequently (and unabashedly) rude, her self-assuredness and strength in the face of social pressure are good examples for teens. Cameron, too, displays positive qualities like sincerity and integrity, and his attraction to Bianca is more than just physical. Bottom line? The content is too mature for tweens, but teens are likely to enjoy it -- just be sure to follow up with a discussion about the issues that arise if yours do tune in.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about social pressure. Teens: How have your experiences compared to those of the show's characters? What pressures have you faced? How did you respond to them?
You can also discuss how the show portrays teen sexuality. How does seeing and hearing about sex on TV impact real teens' behavior?
How does the series compare to the movie? How have the issues that teens face changed since it came out? Do you think this series offers an accurate, realistic view of current teen life?