Not appropriate, nor educational, nor truly 'realistic'.
Many will advocate for the show, claiming that the depictions of such off-color and "gritty" themes as drugs and sex are "realistic".
I think otherwise. While there are occasional consequences for actions, the simple fact that the show is depicting such drama at all as a means for entertainment is what's truly disturbing. This show is not educational in a realistic way. Many parents are getting confused, thinking that this show, meant for the entertainment of teenagers, has an educational undertone. The kids are not watching the show to learn that sex is wrong, or that drugs are bad -- on the contrary, they will be watching to see these depictions of sex and drugs.
The drama in the show enraptures its audience, yes, but it's that same dramatic overtone that teenagers may be seeking out. They could see the drama brought on by such actions depicted on the show, and feel compelled to add that 'enriching' drama to their own lives by following suit.
Let us not forget the 'invincibility fable', which states that young people feel that dangerous behaviors and actions won't have the same, or any, consequences for them.
Those who advocate that the show is educational for teens, let alone appropriate, assume that teens who see the consequences of sex and drugs will be less likely to emulate, when the opposite is true. When teens, who often are plagued by the invincibility fable, watch such material, the likelihood of emulation is increased. Their peaked curiosity in the show's material combined with the innate feelings that tell them, "that won't happen to me; I'm different," leave the door open for the teen to replicate what they witness.
Don't be fooled by parents who state that the show is educational or appropriate. It isn't true. Such subject matter should be taught at length in a constructive manner by caretakers, one-on-one, not by relying on this skewed show to teach them the "realities of the world".
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking