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 steamy simulated sex, innuendo, euphemisms ("riding his joystick," for example), body-related slang ("hooters," "cooch," and "p---y"), and strong language ("s--t" and "f--k" are censored; "ass," "bitch," and "damn" are audible) are common fare in this brilliant comedy series about the tribulations of the teen years. Teens engage in casual physical encounters (expect to see everything but full-on genital nudity), but rather than simply glorifying the sexy content, the show explores the emotional consequences of these encounters. Viewers will see some pretty snarky meanness from social divas who use social media (and, in at least one case, sexting) to torment their peers, as well as a cast of mostly ineffective and out-of-touch adult role models. This show's mature content isn't appropriate for young teens, and it's a good idea to watch this with your older ones so you can discuss the show's messages about relationships and other coming-of-age themes.
What's the story?
Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) has always struggled to fit into a social group at her school, so when an innocent accident is misconstrued as a suicide attempt and lands her overnight (albeit unwelcome) notoriety among her peers, she's determined to make the most of the new visibility and change her life. What follows is a series of relationships, first with her longtime crush, Matty (Beau Mirchoff), then with his friend Jake (Brett Davern), during which Matty attempts to win her back and Jenna tries to sort out her feelings for both guys. Meanwhile she's still a frequent target for her social nemesis, Sadie (Molly Tarlov) -- who lives to make her life miserable -- and her relationship with her mom suffers a blow because of a long-kept secret.
Is it any good?
AWKWARD. is at times irreverent, comical, and poignant, analyzing the uncertainties of high-school life from the point of view of an insightful teen who evolves as the show progresses. Jenna moves from the proverbial social fringe into the mainstream, falling victim to temptations and mistakes along the way, but she never loses her identity or her ideals. Instead of seeking popularity for the sake of status, Jenna envisions it as a gateway to a relationship with the guy of her dreams and the chance to befriend classmates who have never given her a second glance. Her family might not always be a solid foundation, but she's got two reliable friends who are in her camp through thick and thin. In a media world of Barbie types and bickering housewives, these qualities make for a quality female model for teens.
And Jenna's not the only one who changes as the show develops. Awkward.'s superb writing enables sharp character development, revealing layer after layer of each personality and giving viewers a glimpse of the complicated dynamics that exist within this peer group. Because the show doesn't shy away from touchy subjects like teen sex, drinking, and racial stereotypes, choosing instead to explore them in a realistic light, you'll find plenty of inspiration for follow-up talks with your teen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about relationships. Do you think this series depicts teen relationships realistically? Is sex a big issue? What are your feelings about teen sex? Is it possible to be in a committed relationship without that factor?
Teens: How is social class established among your peers? Is it difficult to relate to people whose interests aren't the same as your own? Do you see bullying among your classmates? Why is that such a hot-button issue?
Teens: Do you use social networking to stay in touch with friends? What are the benefits of this technology? What are the risks/dangers? What steps do you and your family take to ensure that you're safe online?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love high school issues
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.