A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Teen girls wrestle with personal insecurities about their bodies, their dance abilities, and their home lives. While they're not always happy with their situations, most are willing to work hard to change them. Other themes include determination, perseverance, and the importance of learning from your mistakes. On the downside, the show initially gives a simplistic impression of marriage when virtual strangers pledge commitment on a whim, but they do acknowledge that maintaining a relationship will take work.
Positive Role Models
Michelle draws on her life experiences (both good and bad) to help inspire the teens she teaches. She looks beyond their physical skills and encourages them to express themselves through dance, which helps them develop more confidence and a better self-image. One teen engages in rebellious behavior (like drinking) when her home life gets difficult, but she also gets help and advice from her friends and well-meaning adults.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Physical affection like kissing and hugging between adults, some of which it's implied leads to sex, which is confirmed by characters' rumpled clothes and hair in a following scene. Nudity is limited to the backs of topless dancers, and there are some clipped references to performing sexual favors for men after being treated to dinner.
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Words include "ass," "boobs," "suck," and others, but they're not frequent.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A rebellious teen drinks beer to cope with frustrations at home, but there's no ill effect from the transgression. Adults drink champagne and cocktails in social settings.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bunheads is a teen-friendly drama series from the creator of Gilmore Girls that brings together a cast of dancers -- including Broadway star Sutton Foster -- in a thoughtful story about finding your destiny and reaching your potential. The mostly female cast includes a number of teens and adults who model positive traits like self-acceptance, perseverance, and adaptability. Expect some romance, implications of sex, rebellious teen behavior like drinking, and moderate language ("ass," "boobs," etc.). The characters also raise issues about body image, so this is a great opportunity to start a discussion about that with your teens.
Is It Any Good?
Bunheads is a rare find in today's TV culture -- a touching, endearing story that balances humor, drama, and a delightful cast of characters who are both entertaining and surprisingly believable. Fans of Gilmore Girls will recognize these qualities as trademarks of creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. There's a good bit of improbability to Michelle and Hubbell's rushed relationship, of course, but that's about the only plot point that asks you to set reality aside. By contrast, the scope of the characters' imperfections offers plenty of opportunities for the cast to make and learn from mistakes, all of which has great promise for a quality, teen-geared drama.
Perhaps the best aspect of this thoughtful series is its range of characters, each with the potential to model behavior traits that parents will love to present to their teen girls. Michelle uses her regrets about her past to inspire the young dancers she meets; sweet-natured Boo (Kaitlyn Jenkins) refuses to let her insecurities about her body keep her from working toward her dream; and natural talent Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles) often turns to her friends to help her cope with troubles at home. Top that off with a delightfully charismatic and jovial performance by Tony Award-winner Foster and some mighty fine dancing from most of the cast, and you've got a rare gem for teens.
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.