Clique

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Clique TV Poster Image
Fascinating Brit university show has sex, drugs, language.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Complicated motives are at play, but there are positive messages about feminism, women working together for power and representation (even if their methods are, to say the least, unorthodox), as well as the loyalty friends owe to each other. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters have devious motives, are hoping to get power and money by any means possible. Holly is a loyal friend who tirelessly works to understand the mess her friend Georgia is in. Georgia takes more chances and suffers more consequences for them. 

Violence

Violence is infrequent but shocking, like when a student is discovered in a bathtub in a pool of blood, having cut her wrists in long gory wounds in a suicide attempt. A character jumps to her death from a high place; camera lingers on her dead body. 

Sex

College students refer to having casual sex, joke about "scissoring" (having lesbian sex). Characters who have met only once before have sex with moaning, thrusting; the woman is in her bra and the man's bare buttocks are visible. 

Language

Language includes "bitch," "f---ing," "f--k," "ass," "c--t" (used in the English sense meaning a jerk, not the body part). Women frequently refer to each other as "bitches" jokingly. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink alcohol, use drugs on-screen, like in one scene where character snorts lines of white powder. At a party, college students chant for a girl to "Drink! Drink! Drink!" from glass of alcohol; she does. Character sneaks bottle of liquor into a bar, spikes her soda heavily. Multiple characters smoke cigarettes. A man gives a woman a pill of some kind at a party to help her "relax." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Clique is a drama about two best friends who fall in with a charismatic group at their college and get more than they bargained for. Basically, this is an everyone-has-secrets dark drama, but the sex, language, and violence in this British series is turned up a few notches than what you'd normally see on American network TV. Violence is infrequent but is disturbing and shocking: A character cuts her wrists and is found in a pool of blood in a bathtub with gory wounds; a woman plummets from a high building, and the camera lingers on her dead body atop a car. Characters use drugs at decadent parties, taking (unnamed) pills and snorting lines of (unnamed) white powder, as well as drinking heavily and smoking cigarettes. Sexual encounters feature moaning, thrusting, men's bare backsides, and no talk of love or safe sex. Language includes "f--k," "f---ing," "ass," "bitch," and "c--t." 

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What's the story?

When longtime best friends Holly (Synnove Karlsen) and Georgia (Aisling Franciosi) attend university together in Edinburgh, they soon realize that a CLIQUE of women holds unexpected power both at their university and in the financial world. Rachel (Rachel Hurd-Wood), Fay (Emma Appleton), Phoebe (Ella-Rae Smith), and the others all work for the Solasta Women's Initiative, a shadowy arm of the powerful Solasta Finance firm. Founded by charismatic professor Jude McDermid (Louise Brealey) and her brother Alistair (Emun Elliott), Solasta has murky aims -- and even murkier means of realizing them. Now it's only a matter of time before Solasta and the McDermids try to sweep up Holly and Georgia in their plans. Will they succeed? 

Is it any good?

Dark, weird, and expertly plotted, this Brit-import thriller has all the hallmarks of a more grown up Pretty Little Liars: complicated women, closeted skeletons, dirty deeds. Stories about cabals and underworlds that exist beneath the everyday are fun, because real life is boring. On an average day, a real college student will go to class, do homework, maybe have a beer with pizza. On an average day for a Clique character, there'll be parties dripping with champagne, big secretive business deals, and any number of intrigues that involve phone messages or whispering behind closed doors. It's not believable, but it sure is fun. 

The actors in this drama are also uncommonly appealing, most of all Rachel Hurd-Wood, who most American viewers, if they know her at all, will remember from the 2003 remake of Peter Pan. Cast here in a role very different from her wide-eyed Wendy, Hurd is creepy, menacing, and yet appealing as she ushers first Georgia and then Holly into her coven of sirens. Louise Brealey, who had a small part in Sherlock, is equally fantastic as a professor with a nefarious plan, injecting her classrooms of swooning girls with feminist fire. Once they start watching, viewers will be grateful all the episodes dropped at once.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the characters on Clique behave with regards to sex and drinking. Are the ways they act realistic? Safe? Do they have consequences on the show? What about in real life? 

  • This show was produced in the UK. How are broadcast standards different there when it comes to violence, language, and sexual content? What would the show look like if it were to air on American network television? How would it have to change?

  • Do the goings-on at Georgia and Holly's college look glamorous? Are they supposed to? Why do most movies about dark underworlds feature very good-looking cast members doing visually appealing things? Do most people involved in criminal enterprises look and act like this? 

TV details

For kids who love teen drama

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