A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show plays up many of the typical soap opera characteristics -- betrayal, dark secrets, revenge, manipulation -- but it does so with humor, bringing a light touch to what otherwise would be pure melodrama. Consequently, while no one viewing this show is going to take away positive lessons in behavior or relationship management, they also won't be weighed down with heavy drama. And, in the end, the show does center on strong friendships and family ties.
Positive Role Models
Although the ladies clearly care about each other and their families, the way they behave -- manipulating each other, trading on their sex appeal, deceiving people they love -- doesn't exactly make them candiates for role model of the year. But they do have strong friendships and family relationships ... all of which are frequently tested but almost always stand up to even the hardest challenges.
Violence & Scariness
The show's narrator is a woman who killed herself in the series' very first episode. Other storylines have included murder, assault, fatal accidents, crashes, fights, gun threats/shots, arson, and more, but there's rarely blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of skimpy outfits and making out/foreplay; several scenes in which lovemaking is implied (but no sensitive body parts shown). One of the housewives was involved in an affair with a teenager; others have also strayed or been tempted to. One main character cleaned house wearing lingerie while being broadcast on the Web. Some teen sex (and consequent pregnancy).
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Mostly words like "damn" and "hell", with the occasional "ass" or "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Regular but not obvious product placements from Buick, KFC, Halston, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The ladies frequently get together for wine and/or margaritas; most of them have gotten tipsy (or more) a few times over the course of the show's run, and Bree has struggled with being an alcoholic. Also some teen drinking and drug use. One character was addicted to her kids' medication for awhile.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this tongue-in-cheek soap opera's focus on adult characters and situations makes it inappropriate for young kids and teens. Characters (adults and teens alike) have had affairs, covered up crimes, been addicted to drugs and alcohol, lied, and manipulated other characters in just about every imaginable way. There are plenty of sexy scenes (though no actual nudity) and banter, as well as over-the-top storylines involving violence and betrayal. Although older teens and adults will understand that many of the storylines are presented in a humorous way, younger children may not be able to differentiate between parody and drama -- yet another reason to make this one adults-only.
Is It Any Good?
The show's stars give great comedic performances, and there are plenty of outrageous moments (klutzy Susan getting covered in cremated ashes, for example). Something positive can also be gleaned from the women's friendships with one another and from the show's examination -- however extreme -- of the complicated lives that women lead.
But it should be stressed that this is adult fare. In the first season alone, viewers were treated to Gabrielle's sexual relationship with a minor, Lynette's dependence on Ritalin, Bree's husband's S&M fetish, a naked nanny, a suicide, a hit-and-run with no consequences, and a grizzly strangulation. And things have only gotten more complicated -- and eyebrow-raising -- since.
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.