Downtown Girls

 
Offers flashy, unrealistic view of young working women.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series offers an unrealistic view of the lives of young urban professional women in New York City. It also sends positive messages about friendship and comraderie among women.

Positive role models

The women are supportive of each other through thick and thin. At times some of the women come across as narcissistic. The cast is primarily Caucasian; several of them are Jewish. One cast member is of British-Indian descent.

Violence

References are made to being (sexually) violated. Occasionally the women get into some mild disagreements.

Sex

Contains endless conversations about relationships, dating, and ex-boyfriends. It also contains some strong sexual innuendo; flirting, hugging, and kissing is visible. The young women take stripper dance classes. One of the women is a serial dater.

Language

Contains plays on the word “bitch”.  Words like "damn" and "hell" are audible. Curses like “s--t” and “f--k” are “bleeped”.

Consumerism

The Apple logo is not obviously placed, but is visible. Glamour.com and Nikki Laura Boutique is prominently featured throughout the series. One cast member works for Atlantic Records.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking (beer, wine, cocktails, shots, mixed drinks) is frequently visible. The women are shown behaving slightly drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series -- which features a group of young urban professional women living in downtown New York City --  focuses on dating, relationships, and sex. The main cast member is a relationship blogger for Glamour.com, and the show contains some strong sexual innuendo, moderately strong language (“hell,” “damn”; words like “s--t” and “f--k” are bleeped), and lots of drinking (champagne, wine, beer, cocktails). Logos for Apple, and Nikki Lauren Boutique are visible.

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What's the story?

DOWNTOWN GIRLS is a reality series that chronicles the lives of a group of trendy young women living in downtown New York. It features Shallon Lester, a relationship blogger for Glamour.com who writes about relationships, sex, and friendship. Helping her explore some of these issues are her roommates, Nikki, a fashion boutique owner, and Victoria, a law school graduate. Her soon-to-be-married best friend Klo is always there to give her support and advice. Meanwhile Gurj, a digital music marketer, is on hand to offer a voice of reason. Together they share the highs and lows of being part of the young urban professional scene in lower Manhattan.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The show mixes the voyeuristic moments of reality TV with some comedic flair in order to create an experience that is a little reminiscent of the popular Sex and the City series. Unfortunately, the combination isn’t very successful. Shallon’s video blog appearances, as well as her mildly witty narrations of supposedly real-life moments, make the overall show seem like it’s just trying too hard. Some of the women’s behavior doesn’t make them seem very likeable, either.

It's not the best of reality shows, but the series does reveal a strong and supportive friendship between these women. Some viewers may enjoy their endless conversations about relationships and dating, while others may be drawn to the hip and fashionable world that they appear to live in. But like many reality series of this kind, it paints a rather artificial and narcissistic picture of today’s young female professional. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what life is like living and working in a big city. What are some of the challenges? Benefits? Do you think living  and working in a major city is always as fashionable as it is depicted on reality shows like this one?

  • What do you think about these women's preoccupation with dating, relationships, and sex? Is it realistic? What kinds of messages about women and relationships are being expressed?

TV details

Cast:Gurj Bassi, Shallon Lester, Victoria Eisner
Network:MTV
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Downtown Girls was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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