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 university-set comedy doesn't offer many examples of responsible behavior. The main character is an attractive female sophomore who shares a house with four guys, so it's a no-brainer that much of the humor is rooted in sex. There's plenty of innuendo, discussions about the attractiveness of female body parts (including one conversation outlining the characteristics of the perfect boobs), and occasionally even overheard sex sounds (moans, cries, banging, that sort of thing). Stereotypes -- whether intended or not -- are ingrained in the characters' personalities; most of the guys come across as shallow and simple-minded, and girls are often portrayed as image-driven socialites. The plot rarely touches on academics or worthwhile student activities, focusing instead on the characters' personal lives and interactions at home. All in all, it's probably not the best introduction for teens curious about college life.
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What's the story?
When Amy Ryan (Chiara Zanni) sets off to college for her much-anticipated, roommate-free sophomore year, she's expecting it to be a time of self-discovery and adventure. But when she gets there, she's horrified to find that the single dorm room of her dreams is actually what appears to be a converted broom closet ... with ceiling access to the boys' bathroom. She sets off in search of an off-campus room instead, and soon runs into Jason (Jesse Hutch), who's looking for a housemate. He takes her home and introduces her to his other roomies -- Benny (Marshall Porter), McRitchie (Braden Williams), and Dude (Sandy Robson). Amy takes the plunge and moves in, but quickly realizes that the new living arrangement will take some getting used to; there's a lot more to living with the opposite sex than Amy anticipated.
Is it any good?
Teens will certainly find lots to laugh at in ABOUT A GIRL, but parents may be wary of the subtle messages it's sending to pre-college kids. The guys can be crass, chauvinistic, and downright gross, and some of their conversations just aren't meant for female ears. Most of the characters are negatively stereotyped -- the guys are obsessed with girls and sex and don't have much sense of responsibility, and the girls (aside from Amy, of course) come across as image-driven, judgmental socialites. And despite the show's university setting, there's little mention of classes or extracurricular activities.
Not surprising, the coed living situation (four guys, one girl, and one bathroom) means sex and sex-related issues come up a lot. Scenes routinely include one character accidentally catching another coming out of the shower or bumping into a partially clad girlfriend who's sleeping over. Guys and girls often talk about whether they're sleeping with anyone, and in at least one scene, sex noises (cries, moans, thumps, and bumps) are audible through the bedroom wall.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this series compares to real college life. Teens: Does this series cast a positive or negative light on college? What messages does a show like this send to teens? How do you think the characters are different (and similar to) real-life university students? Families can also discuss teens' own college plans. Have teens thought much about college? Where would they like to go? What do they want to study? What parts of college are they most looking forward to -- or apprehensive about?