Betty

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Betty TV Poster Image
Language, drugs in fresh, feminist skateboard series.

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

Positive Messages

The friendship that develops between a diverse group of characters is touching and realistic; messages of empathy and teamwork shine through as they work together to find solutions to problems that crop up. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ruby, Kirt, Janay, Camille, and Indigo are a group of young women who form a powerful and supportive friend group and cushion each other from life's blows with support and love. They are touchingly there for each other in all kinds of ways; they're also diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, as are the other characters in their world. 

Violence

Violence is infrequent but characters sometimes challenge each other to physical fights, including a scene in which there's an altercation between two female characters over the reputation of a male one. Characters frequently get injured when they skate, though falls and bumps and bruises are as intense as it gets. Skaters dart in and out of traffic dangerously on their boards, running red lights and talking on phones. An incident concerning sexual violence is mentioned but not shown. 

Sex

Flirting and romance is common; expect dating, kissing, and references to sex. 

Language

Cursing is frequent, expect "motherf--kers," "f--k," "damn," "s--t," "bitch" used as an insult and a term of endearment.  

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke pot frequently and prominently, like an episode in which characters spend about a third of the running time smoking pot together in a van. They act sloppy and slow when smoking, too. One character sells pot; we see her exchanging vape pens for money.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Betty is a drama about a group of female skateboarders in New York City. There's plenty of mature content, but at its heart this show is sweet and sincere, focusing on it does on a group of young women who love and support each other, cheering each other on both at the skate park and in their personal lives. Their friendship reads as touchingly sincere, and there's empathy and teamwork clearly visible in the way they come together to solve problems and shore each other up. There are also many scenes in which they drink and use drugs, smoking marijuana from joints, vape pens, and pipes; they also take psychedelics and drink, with seemingly no supervision from parents. One character also sells pot; we see her exchanging drugs for money on the street. Violence (save for bruises from misfired skate moves) is rare, but an incident concerning sexual violence plays a part in the series' plot, and winds up in a physical altercation between two young women (no one is seriously injured). Flirting and romance is common; expect same- and opposite-sex kissing and dating, as well as references to sex. Cursing is frequent: "f--k," "motherf--kers," "s--t," "bitch," "damn," and more. 

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What's the story?

In skateboard parlance, a BETTY is a female skater, but all Kirt (Nina Moran), Janay (Dede Lovelace), Camille (Rachelle Vinburg), Ruby (Kabrina Adams), and Indigo (Ajani Russell) want to do is hang out free from hassle from the other skaters, the cops, their parents, and everyone else who wants to come between them and a good time. In the streets, apartments, and skate parks of New York City, they practice their moves and deal with things as they come, sure about at least one thing: They have each other's backs, even if no one else does. 

Is it any good?

A loose-limbed joy ride that'll make viewers want to move to New York City and start rolling around on a board, this show feels both real and fresh, a slice of life we've never seen before. The first thing most who watch will catch onto is the gorgeous camera work, as Kirt weaves casually in and out of traffic, running red lights, grabbing onto the back of a truck when she needs a lift and then gracefully gliding away when it stops. It looks terrifying, but joyful; something most people would never do, but watching it, you kind of want to. When she makes it to the skate park the camera's gaze goes wild, wandering from board-level to shots from above to watch heart-stopping tricks. 

The group of young women at the heart of Betty's untethered story takes some time to come together, and it's a joy to watch as they cheer each other on in a corner of the skate park and roam the city streets on one mission or another. They look tough and beautiful, skating in a wedge that literally stops traffic, but off their boards, all the problems in their lives creep in. The girls are empowered by their mode of transport: "That's why we have boards, so we don't have to take the bus," says Camille. "We hop on our boards, we're out." Exactly. On stable ground, there are unfaithful boyfriends, and creeps who steal your stuff and catcall, and parents who push you around. On wheels, this group is unstoppable. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Does Betty make being a teen look like fun? Is it realistic? Do the teens you know look and act like this? Do they have these types of problems? Does a show have to be realistic and believable in order to be enjoyable? 

  • Why do you think drinking, smoking, and drugs are so prevalent in this series? Are they glamorized? How much of a role do substances play in this story? Is this show's depiction of drinking, smoking, and drugs realistic? 

  • How does the main cast of Betty demonstrate empathy and teamwork in this show? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love skateboarding

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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