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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The value of loyal friendship is underlined -- sometimes by friends first mistreating each other before they decide to do the right thing. Tolerance of others with difficult customs or viewpoints is another positive theme that shines through, typical of the worldliness that's a common side effect of travel.
Positive Role Models
All the characters have good and bad sides and can act with shocking selfishness and then turn around and do nice things for others; they all show growth over the course of the series. One character's struggle with her ethnic identity is highlighted: May is called a "banana" i.e. an overly assimilated Chinese person, yellow outside, white inside.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is generally introduced to amp up mayhem, like when a hurled banana milkshake is the genesis for a bar brawl. A sudden death of a character with a terminal illness is played for laughs. One man punches another.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sex is frequently a complicating factor in this group's misdeeds. One character sleeps first with one man, then another, and the two men fight over her. Sex can be casual and no-strings, or the prelude to love, and characters are often over confused which one they're having. There's no nudity or sex onscreen; characters kiss passionately and then the camera cuts away. There are references to "threesomes," including a married couple who hope to seduce a single man together (they are unsuccessful).
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Language includes "f--king," "s-t," "a--hole," "dick." Vulgar slang is often British and American viewers may not know what it means: "arseholes," "bell-end" (a vulgar term for the end of a penis).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink, sometimes to excess, which makes them make questionable choices. There are references to getting "smashed" and "lashed." One character smokes cigarettes frequently. Illegal drugs play a part in several scenarios including one in which a character is unknowingly given a drug by a friend hoping to change her mind about something.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gap Year is a comedy about twentysomethings backpacking through Asia. The vibe is light and comic, and so are the plotlines, but there's still plenty of mature content. Characters drink frequently, and make iffy choices; they also buy and use illegal drugs. One character smokes cigarettes. Both men and women have casual sex, though there are emotional complications, including infighting amongst the group. At other times, sex is a prelude to a committed relationship. There are references to "threesomes," including a plotline where a married couple attempts to bring a single man into their sex lives, but no nudity or onscreen physicality beyond kissing. Language can be vulgar: "s--t," "f--king," "a--hole." Racial/ethnic/cultural stereotypes are addressed for comic effect -- one Chinese-American woman is called a "banana," and it's assumed that English and American characters are dumb and clueless. Violence is generally cartoonish, like when a bar brawl begins over a hurled milkshake. Characters show growth over the course of the show, and the value of remaining loyal to friends and sticking with those who have your back is underlined.
Is It Any Good?
As loose, casual, and fitfully joyous as a rambling trip abroad, this comedy goes down easy, particularly for those who have had their own travel misadventures. Of course, missing a train or not knowing how to order food in the local language pales in comparison to what Dylan, Sean, and company get themselves into as they stumble from China to Southeast Asia in search of adventure -- and, in May's case, the Asian history and art that her strict mother has demanded she absorb and understand. Cultural and language barriers loom large as Sean is lost and found again, Greg just barely avoids contracting leprosy, and several of the number make a brief stay at a Nepalese jail.
Gap Year has the vibe of other travel-misadventure narratives like The Hangover and Girls Trip, but the vibe is lighter and the action geared at teen and college-age audiences. These young travelers are looking for music festivals and white-sand beaches and love -- at least for a night -- and their mishaps are equally frivolous. Those who have spent long nights guarding their shoes in a hostel, or wandering around distant cities with a backpack will enjoy trekking along with this ragtag group of friends, even if their own gap year journeys are long since past.
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.