By Larisa Wiseman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Edgy teen cartoon has some positive messages, too.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Character stereotypes exist, but not to the detriment of the show's humor or messages. Blondes tend to be ditzy, a popular teen spends most of his time thinking about girls, a sharp-tongued free thinker shows little respect for authority. Despite their differences, though, the teens find common ground in their affection for each other, resulting in the show's positive messages about relationships and coping with the trials of the teen years.
Positive Role Models
The teens are at times lazy, irresponsible, impatient, and crude, but they're also sensitive to each other's needs and willing to lend a hand to a friend. While they're not perfect, their flaws make them believable enough to hold tweens' attention long enough for their messages to sink in. Adults are rarely a factor in the show. The teens represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds and subcultures.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Boy-girl relationships are common among teens, and they discuss them with their friends. Girls are seen in bras and panties or, more rarely, in the nude with black bars covering their chest and groin areas. Kissing, hand-holding, hugging, and cuddling is shown; further sexuality is suggestive rather than obvious. A teen's light saber extends when he sees a pretty girl, for instance, and a friend misinterprets a girl's fast breathing and squealing as a make-out session instead of her reaction to a rollercoaster ride. Guys talk about wanting to see girls naked and are known to ogle over them.
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"Sucks," "jerk," and "ass," plus body references like "boobs."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that boy-girl relationships figure prominently in this teen cartoon, which means there's physical contact like kissing and hugging as well as some innuendo relating to sexier stuff like erections and bedroom noises. The characters are average teens who occasionally push boundaries and suffer the consequences, and their missteps are at the heart of the show's humor. While this makes them less than stellar individual role models, as a whole they illustrate the ups and downs of teen life and the benefits of having true friends to lean on through it all. Silliness, gross-out humor (farting contests, zits, etc.), occasional language ("ass," "boobs," "sucks"), and the kind of fantasy that's to be expected from a show set in a mall will keep your teens' attention, but that's offset by an ethnically and socially diverse group of characters who muddle through relatable predicaments and find a sense of belonging with each other.
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Based on 23 parent reviews
Fun show about teenage life suitable for preteens and above.
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What's the Story?
6TEEN is a Canadian cartoon that centers on six teenage friends whose lives converge every day at the local mall, where they all hang out and hold down after-school jobs to varying degrees of success. There's Jen (voiced by Megan Fahlenbock), a type-A personality and star athlete; sweet but flighty fashionista Caitlin (Brooke D'Orsay); and free-spirited Nikki (Stacey DePass). Nikki's self-obsessed boyfriend, Jonesy (Terry McGurrin), is also Jen's stepbrother; laid-back Jude (Christian Potenza) just goes with the flow; and the easygoing musician Wyatt (Jess Gibbons) rounds out the group. When school's out, these teens' social lives revolve around the comings and goings of the shopping center's customers and the funny and unusual happenings within the mall.
Is It Any Good?
It's no small feat to balance teens' desire for edgier content in their shows with parents' quest for some degree of innocuous entertainment for this impressionable viewing audience, and to toe this line in a cartoon is even more impressive. 6teen doesn't ignore the fact that teens have a growing awareness of relationships, sexuality, and life events; rather it crafts storylines that incorporate these issues in comical ways that still manage to leave teens with a positive view of friendship, dating, and handling the unexpected coming-of-age woes in their own lives. Yes, it does paint a mostly carefree picture of the characters' lives that might not entirely jibe with your own teen's, but that's also what keeps the content so light-hearted.
This is one of those cases in which the show's animation style might entice an unintended crowd of younger viewers, so be sure to keep this one off your younger kids' watch list. Teens can find the humor in the characters' antics and individual personalities without mistaking their actions for a playbook for life, but the same can't be said for kids' less experienced judgment.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what the media says about relationships between teens. Do you find that what you see in movies and on TV reflects what you experience among your peers? Which shows tend to be more realistic than others?
Do producers have a responsibility to moralize the TV shows, movies, music, etc. that we consume? Who decides where the line exists between entertainment and sensationalism? Have you ever been surprised at the nature of something you've seen or heard on TV?
Watch TV commercials and look through magazines for ads. In what ways is sex used as a marketing tool? How effective is this tactic?
Scan job ads online or in print. What skills do you have that lend themselves to particular jobs?
- Premiere date: December 18, 2005
- Cast: Brooke D'Orsay, Megan Fahlenbock, Stacey DePass
- Network: Cartoon Network
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Friendship, High School
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: March 16, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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