American Heiress

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
American Heiress TV Poster Image
English telenovela is rich with campy melodrama.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Extreme, soap opera-style character types: sweet but spoiled, vengeful and evil, slutty and greedy, etc. Lots of backstabbing, manipulating, and so on.


Machine gun-firing guerillas; patricide; a scary plane crash resulting in one dead person with a little bit of blood. In one scene a father hits his adult son with a folded newspaper.


One Paris Hilton-like character is famous for an Internet sex tape. She's very promiscuous, is seen in bed with men, wears very revealing clothes, and acts in a sexually provocative manner. Plenty of bed-hopping in general.


"Hell" and "damn," plus lots of words like "slut" and "whore."


Extreme materiaism -- the main family lives in an elaborate mansion and owns a private plane. Much of the drama centers on who gets inheritance money.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One son was in drug rehab in the past. Celebratory drinking of champagne.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this nighttime soap opera might attract teen viewers due to its focus on the fantasy-like world of the super rich. But because of the show's mature material, most parents will want to keep younger viewers away. Storylines revolve around an adult son who plots to murder his father and a young woman who is constantly seeking sex partners (several scenes show her in bed, obviously naked, and there's plenty of frank talk about the pursuit of sex). Family members are cruel to each other, in typical soap style.

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What's the story?

The titular AMERICAN HEIRESS is Elizabeth Wakefield (Alicia Leigh Willis), a smart but spoiled young woman who finds herself in the jungles of Guatemala after her private plane crashes. The crash was engineered by her brother, Damien (Race Owen), who had intended to kill their business-tycoon father in order to inherit his fortune. In addition to following Elizabeth's travails in the jungle -- where she butts heads with her sole companion, handsome young pilot JD Bruce (Carter MacIntyre) -- the series checks in with the rest of the family. There's Elizabeth's younger sister Loren (AnnaLynn McCord), an unapologetically promiscuous young woman who has a fondness for men in her father's age range; Matthew (Robert Buckley), an athletic racecar enthusiast; and, of course, the scheming Damien, who's also involved in some illegal arms trading that's being investigated by the CIA.

Is it any good?

American Heiress is incredibly trashy -- it's full of intrigue, sex, adventure, silly plotlines, and some truly terrible acting. Some viewers who appreciate that kind of thing might find moments of guilty pleasure, though parents will want kids, even most teens, to stay away.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what's appealing about soap operas and telenovelas. How are these shows similar to real life? How are they different? Do you prefer soaps that go on indefinitely or ones that have a set ending point? Why are there so many evil people on these shows? How is this show similar to and different from Spanish telenovelas?

TV details

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