A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Florida Girls is a comedy about four female friends who share a trailer in Clearwater, Florida. The tone of this show is ultimately rather sweet, but a lot of the humor and plotlines are mature. Characters frequently use drugs, including LSD and marijuana, including while they drive. A character has a breathalyzer device attached to her car to prevent impaired driving, but she also works in a bar and drinks as well as using drugs. We visit the grow room of a marijuana dealer (recreational marijuana use is illegal in Florida), and hear talk about "molly" and other drugs. A group of female friends are said to have started drinking at age 12. Other jokes target sex, such as a running gag about a man who likes to expose himself to bar employees, and a character asked if she will give her boyfriend oral sex for money. Violence is less frequent than content about sex or drugs, but in one scene two groups of female friends physically fight over a stolen necklace. Speaking of stealing, one character frequently steals; it's played for laughs. Cursing is frequent: "f--k," "bitch," "s--t," "dumbass," "goddamn." Though much of this show's humor punches down and mocks the poor and uneducated, characters are presented sympathetically and we gradually grow to understand the tragedies that lie behind many of their poor choices; the show also makes points about racism, classism, female friendship, sexism, and other topics.
What's the story?
Set in Clearwater, Florida, FLORIDA GIRLS opens as Shelby's (Laura Chinn) best friend gets her GED and a job, leaving behind Shelby and the rest of the roommates who share a trailer: Kaitlin (Melanie Field), Jayla (Laci Mosley), and Erica (Patty Guggenheim). It's enough to make Shelby wonder if it's about time she got more education and a better job herself, which makes Katilin, Jayla, and Erica question exactly where they're going in life (and if where they're going is somewhere they want to be). Is living in a Florida beach town and working at a local bar enough for them? And if it is, should it be?
Is it any good?
At its best, this show rises above its regressive central "let's laugh at the poor people" concept to become a show about regular women who are there for each other in extraordinary ways. But before you get there -- and in between the sweet moments that make Florida Girls occasionally worth it -- there are a lot of jokes about crystal meth and trailer parks and Applebee's to wade through. Viewers who have no problem with Florida as a punch line will probably find the whole show absolutely hilarious, because the jokes are well-written, something that won't surprise those who guffawed over Laura Chinn's work on The Mick and Children's Hospital. But those who prefer the punch-up style of humor are likely to wince their way through the show's early episodes in particular.
Lurking underneath the crass humor, though, is an easier-to-love premise of sisterly friendship and sweet support, and knowing commentary on issues like entrenched cycles of poverty, the politics of multiracial identity, and the ways that oppression affects women in particular. It probably won't surprise fans of the show that Chinn grew up in Tampa, Florida, and dropped out of high school at age 16, just like her quartet of main characters. She mines what she knows for her show -- and once she moves past the gators & tall boys schtick, what emerges is a comedy about true underdogs who are easy to root for. There are worse summertime pleasures to partake in.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about featuring inappropriate behavior as funny. Should things such as drug use, drinking, smoking, and other risky behaviors be treated as funny or inconsequential, even if it's a comedy like Florida Girls? What consequences are there for these behaviors in this show, if any?
Families can also talk about Florida Girls' use of stereotypes. When does a caricature go from being funny to being offensive? Where do you draw the line?
What are the risks of using crime, drug use, and socioeconomic stereotypes as a punch line? Does poking fun at people who make iffy choices downplay the consequences of their behavior?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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