A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The stories always promote positive themes about family, faith, and forgiveness, but in doing so, they often portray scenarios that show characters being selfish or dishonest before a change of heart. Some racial and gender roles reflect the norms of the eras in which the stories are set; in other stories, characters challenge those stereotypes with meaningful results. Name-calling like "whore" and "hussy." Characters' willingness to change instigates positive growth in their lives. Faith also plays an important role in many of the characters' lives.
Positive Role Models
A mixed bag, as the stories often center on a person or people who need self-reflection and a change of heart to right wrongs and move toward a better future. Generally, though, they come around to choosing the right path and making positive changes.
Violence & Scariness
Some use of guns in historical context, as when a woman uses a rifle to scare away unwelcome visitors. Mention of rape along with flashback scenes that hint at the attack but obscure most of what's seen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Heavily dependent on the story. In some cases, couples are shown under the covers in bed and presumed to have just had sex. A man hits on a woman and forces her toward a bathroom before a friend steps in to help. Talk of nymphomania and sexually transmitted diseases. Marital infidelity and rape are addressed.
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Varies widely depending on the episode, but in some cases, words like "ass," "a--hole," "damn," "dammit," "hell," "bulls--t ," "suck," and some body-related slang like "titties" and "knockers."
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Products & Purchases
The series is inspired by several of Dolly Parton's songs, which provide the soundtrack for the episodes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink with meals and socially.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dolly Parton's Heartstrings is an anthological series with a different story in each episode, making it difficult to predict what the content might be from one to the next. Some episodes deal with decidedly mature issues like rape and marital infidelity, but always in insightful ways with ultimately positive and heartwarming messages. Likewise, the use of strong language ("damn," "dammit," "a--hole," "titties," etc.) varies from one episode to the next, and violent content, firearm use, stereotypes, and gender roles change to reflect historical and societal norms of the respective settings. The stories are inspired by the lyrics of several of Dolly Parton's most famous songs but often approach the telling in unexpected and original ways. An all-star cast and exceptional writing, plus the recurring presence of Dolly herself onscreen, help make this series truly compelling drama.
Is It Any Good?
Compelling and dramatic, this series will reach far beyond the country music fan pool for its audience. The stories are wonderfully written and expertly acted, and despite their roots in the words of well-known songs, they never feel formulaic. Often the plots veer from the expected while still staying true to the prominent themes. What's more, even though Parton introduces each episode herself and acts in several, you never get the sense that the show is an advertising tool. Even the songs that inspire the stories themselves serve to complement rather than to overwhelm the content.
Dolly Parton's Heartstrings is wholesome, heartfelt -- and yes, sometimes soapy -- entertainment, but because each story is so unique, it's difficult to predict the issues that might arise as it evolves. Where one episode brims with mostly family friendly content and themes of respect, honesty, and compassion, another delves into more mature subjects like marital infidelity and sympathizes to some degree with "the other woman." As such, if you're hoping to watch with your tweens, be sure to preview the episodes to select those that are most appropriate for general family viewing and save the others for grown-up TV time.
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.