A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
A teen attempts to turn the tables on her social adversity by stepping outside her comfort zone and reaching out to others. Stereotypes exist among the high-schoolers (nerds, jocks, divas). Popularity is the gauge by which teens' worth is measured, but its definition changes as the show progresses. Bullying takes the form of verbal abuse as well as cyberbullying and sexting, as when a teen sends out a photo of a classmate's breasts to humiliate her. Casual sex isn't uncommon, but some characters experience emotional fallout from it. Teens share personal thoughts through uncensored social media and blogs.
Positive Role Models
Jenna is empathetic, idealistic, and optimistic, and she's determined to use an unfortunate incident as a catalyst to change her fate. Her mother is cast as the opposite -- self-absorbed and image-conscious -- but her father offers her more insightful and helpful advice that reflects her personality. Plenty of stereotyping among other characters.
Violence & Scariness
An accident is misconstrued as a teen's suicide attempt, and she's left with a broken arm.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nudity is implied rather than shown, but graphic simulated sex is punctuated by groaning, sweating, and an obvious moment of climax. Kissing and making out, and a teen engages in casual sex with a classmate to start a relationship with him, which she quickly rethinks. Sexual references include erotic fetishes, humping, pornography, date rape, sexually touching a girl, and teen pregnancy. Euphemisms like "riding his joystick" and anatomical slang like "t-ts," "hooters," "knockers," "p---y," "d--k," "cooch," and "ta-tas."
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Multiple uses of "bitch," "hell," and "ass." "F--k" and "s--t" are bleeped or muted.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink (sometimes excessively) at social events, and there are references to getting drunk and going to keggers.
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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.
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.
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.