Adult Material

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Adult Material TV Poster Image
Graphic adult film show explores consent vs. sexual assault.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Adult Material is about ownership of one's career and one's body -- healthy communication with one's family and friends; standing up for those who aren't in a position to stand up for themselves; and making sacrifices in order to make moral or ethical choices. 

Positive Role Models

It's about the lead character's struggle to lead a moral and ethical life while working in an industry that is often in conflict with morality and ethics. Jolene Dollar is determined, loyal, and protective. She is a leader, mentor, and entrepreneur.

Violence

Violence is a consistent part of Adult Material. Sexual assault shows up in many forms, some subtle and some not. Other violence occurs as well, including a person being stabbed at one point.

Sex

Takes place within the porn industry, and the sexual content is extremely high. Sex is discussed graphically, simulated sex is shown frequently, and nudity is shown in each episode. One notable thing is that the staged pornography is not intended to be sexually stimulating. The "porn" scenes are used for comedy or drama, and female nudity is typically only shown in the non-porn-related scenes. On major through-line of the show is the idea of consent, and there are numerous examples of when consent has and has not been given before sex.

Language

Profanity and explicit sexual language are used throughout and includes "f--k," "a--hole," "c--t," etc., as well as graphic descriptions of various sex acts.

Consumerism

Does not feature any product placement. However, the series takes place within the adult film industry and spends significant time exploring the business side of that industry. There are examples of how to find pornography on the internet.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking, smoking, and drug use are shown throughout the series. Characters use and describe hard drugs and marijuana, and mix prescription pills with alcohol. Characters drink alcohol to excess, use alcohol in professional settings, and are shown inebriated beyond the point of self-control.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Adult Material is a drama that takes place in the adult film industry and features an extreme amount of sexual content. Sex is discussed graphically, simulated sex is shown frequently, and nudity is shown in each episode. Sexual assault shows up in many forms, some subtle and some not. Other violent acts occur as well, including a person being stabbed. Profanity and explicit sexual language are used throughout Adult Material, including graphic descriptions of various sex acts. Characters use and describe hard drugs and marijuana, and mix prescription pills with alcohol. Characters drink alcohol to excess, use alcohol in professional settings, and are shown inebriated beyond the point of self control. The show does use the porn industry setting to tell a complex story about sex, empowerment, and ethics. One major through-line of the show is the idea of consent, and there are numerous examples of when consent has and has not been given before sex. The idea of consent is especially complex and incredibly important to understand, and the series makes a point of illustrating consensual and non-consensual sexual encounters. Another notable thing about Adult Material is that the staged pornography is not intended to be sexually stimulating. The "porn" scenes are used for comedy or drama, and female nudity is typically only shown in the non-porn-related scenes. Though set in the adult film industry, Adult Material is not an exploitative show, and it uses the unique setting to explore themes that wouldn't otherwise be accessible.

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What's the story?

ADULT MATERIAL follows Jolene Dollar (Hayley Squires), an adult film star, minor celebrity, and mother of three, as she runs her own business and takes care of her family. When the inexperienced Amy (Siena Kelly) shows up on set one day, Jolene tries to keep the producers and directors in the industry from taking advantage of her. Meanwhile, Jolene's marriage is in a bad place and her teenage daughter is in trouble at school and having problems with her social life. After putting so many years into building a career and a brand, Jolene must consider ditching it all in order to pull her life together.

Is it any good?

Even many of the best television shows have trouble depicting the sexual lives of their characters in a way that isn't exploitative. Though it isn't quite Prestige TV, Adult Material manages to tell a story about the adult film industry that depicts and talks about sex in a frank and entertaining manner, without feeling like it intends to exploit its actors or audience. Instead, the series uses its setting as a way to explore complex topics that don't typically show up on TV, like sex work, consent, and sexual assault. Like the title implies, Adult Material is for mature viewers, but unlike many shows for adults, it treats sex with a sense of maturity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the adult film industry. How is the adult film industry portrayed in Adult Material? How does this compare to how it's perceived in real life? Why would Adult Material want to contrast the perception and the reality of the adult film industry?

  • Which sexual encounters in Adult Material were consensual and which were non-consensual? Why is it important to establish consent? What are some ways the show makes the idea of consent confusing? How could consent have been better established in these cases?

  • What does Jolene consider to be her personal boundaries? What are her moral boundaries? Her ethical boundaries? How are each of these tested throughout the course of the series? How does she attempt to protect or help establish boundaries for others?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mature dramas

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