High School USA!

Common Sense Media says

Animated goof on high school drama has sex jokes galore.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters treat each other with mockery and disdain and champion values like being a bully or refusing dates with anyone who's not cool enough.

Positive role models

High School USA! is meant to be satirical, and as such its characters are archetypes in service to plot points. There are main characters of color, but aside from them, there's nearly zero racial diversity.

Violence

Some cartoonish violence, such as one character threatening to punch another one if he doesn't put out a cigarette. There is scuffling and fist-fighting, with animated blood flying out of punched noses. Casual references to rape.

Sex

References to masturbation, casual sex, anonymous homosexual bathroom hookups, etc. Two girls agree to "lez out" as an alternative to dating a boy they think is a geek; they kiss wetly and at length. No animated nudity is shown but there are plenty of scantily clad animated bodies and sexual humor.

Language

No cursing, but plenty of rough language: "You suck!"

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that High School USA! is a rude animated satire of high school narratives with many jokes and situations parents will find offensive. There are many sexual entendres and images: animated near-naked bodies, a girl sitting on a toilet, a mother making obscene hand gestures. There are jokes about rape and suicide, and rough and insulting language, though no cursing. The female characters on the show are portrayed in a sexist fashion, always in short dresses and concerned with shopping and dances. Teachers, parents, and other authority figures are weak and useless. Characters scuffle and punch each other; blood flies from noses.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Brought to you by the creators of Community, HIGH SCHOOL USA! is a naughty and perverse take on typical teenage drama, creating a world where a bully is urged to embrace his cruel side, and a girl expresses her individuality by copying everything her friend does. The most obvious reference point for HIGH SCHOOL USA! is the Archie comics; you've got Marsh (Vincent Kartheiser) as your bland ginger at the center of the action, you've got your Betty/Veronica thing going on with Amber and Cassandra (Mandy Moore), you've got your Jughead-ish nerd Blackstein and your Reggie-like BMOC Brad. Except here, instead of cruising around Riverdale and listening to good advice from good ol' Mom and Dad, these teenagers are binge eating, visiting secret pro-bullying clubs and learning mom is an amateur porn star.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Many years after the The Simpsons (and later Family Guy and still later American Dad) made mincemeat out of typical family sitcom plots, and shows like Daria and Awkward. did the same for earnest high school dramedies, it takes a really fresh approach to make this kind of humor laugh-out-loud funny. This isn't it. The jokes aren't sharply written enough to make the sitcommy antics funny, and the goings on aren't absurd enough to elevate the same old plots you've seen a million times.

That said, there are some amusing ideas at work here. The notion of a cyberbully teaching a meathead how to really torture people is a unique one, and there's definitely humor to be mined from the concept of a kid discovering her parent has an extremely seamy secret life (though South Park did it better 10+ years ago). But considering the pedigree of the creators of High School USA!, one just wishes this was funnier.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what High School USA! is satirizing. Does the show take on subjects you often see on high-school shows such as Degrassi or 90210? How is the satirical take different from the straightforward one?

  • Is the viewer supposed to empathize with the characters on this show? What about the way they are presented brings you to this conclusion?

  • Do you know what it means to have a "token" representation of a certain type of character? Are Blackstein and Cassandra tokens? Why or why not?

TV details

Cast:Mandy Moore, Vincent Kartheiser
Network:Fox
Genre:Comedy
Topics:High school
TV rating:TV-14

This review of High School USA! was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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, okay 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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written byThat90sguy July 28, 2013
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

THIS is a comedy?

High School USA is possibly the worst 'comedy' i have EVER seen. There is no humor. It's all one big innuendo. The writing in this show is horrible. It's only 1 simple sentence and has nothing funny or clever. For example, in the first episode, "Where's Brent? Don't you mean, where's bent?" Get it? It's a penis joke. Ugh. Also, noone on this show acts like they care or even try to make you laugh because their voices are all monotone, expressing no emotion whatsoever. The only innapropriate thing I could find on this show is the sexuality, where you see men taking pictures of their penis (not graphic) and you see a girl use the bathroom (also not graphic). What's really dissapointing is this is part of a new late night line-up on fox called ADHD, Anamation Domination High Def, and it is off to a terrible start. Overall, if you enjoy extremely bland sexual humor you might enjoy it, but I think you shouldn't even bother
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old September 11, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

great

awesome has good humor and is non stop laughing
Educator Written byBigchris July 28, 2013
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Defently a new kind of adult toon

Well when I watched this show last nigh my thoughts were stuff like "oh wats the worst that could happen its just 16 minutes " boy was I ever wrong it was just about a guy sending a pic of his ding a ling to a girl. Then. We get a step farther "girls Totaly make out " and then. I saw a croud of naked buts. In a locker room seen " not only did I see things but heard them too "sob p di "oh wat a show wat a show. U want to spend fifteen minutes of you're life better watch ax cop or do or watch anything. But this pile of crap

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