TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Awkward. TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Stellar teen comedy has sex, language, and mature themes.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 33 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


An accident is misconstrued as a teen's suicide attempt, and she's left with a broken arm.


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."


Multiple uses of "bitch," "hell," and "ass." "F--k" and "s--t" are bleeped or muted.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink (sometimes excessively) at social events, and there are references to getting drunk and going to keggers.

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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMomzilla December 29, 2015

It's Actually Has Good Messages

It's actually not that bad, to my surprise. I think it is okay for 13 year olds, but if you only watch the first episode you'll think it's inappr... Continue reading
Adult Written byS.savage April 6, 2020
Teen, 16 years old Written byWanderlust14 June 18, 2016

Coming from a Teen with morals and values

I do enjoy watching Awkward as a 16-year-old teen. Though it has a lot of sex and drugs scene I know that I personally will not be influenced by the characters... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byBlink41 February 2, 2014

One of my favorites.

Great show. It's hilarious and very frank about issues that most teen shows skirt around. It makes serious, awkward issues funny. Jenna always tries to do... Continue reading

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? 

TV details

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For kids who love high school issues

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