By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Awful role models litter this tacky reality series.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show glamorizes the lives of shallow society "kids" (although most are in their 20s) who live on trust funds and spend their time going to bars and primping for red carpet events. There are no real consequences to negative behaviors like lying, littering, drinking too much, and verbally abusing others.
Positive Role Models
Tinsley isn't all bad, but she's undeniably self-absorbed and obsessed with fame. Her family and so-called friends are the equivalent of a high society train wreck, however; take Jules (who is white): "My friends do tend not to be homosexuals, fat, or Jewish people, or black guys, and I only like white guys...I use the 'N' word sometimes, and I really do think it should be OK to say."
Violence & Scariness
Adult characters yell at each other in public in addition to hitting, pushing, and throwing drinks (or phones) in people's faces.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some open-mouth kissing between guys and girls and sometimes guys and guys. A girl playing beer pong is dared to show her buttocks, but it's blurred.
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Lots of yelling, bleeped swearing, and insults, as in "I don't give two s--ts about Jules Kirby. I wouldn't piss on her corpse if she was burning to death" and "I'll kick her f--king ass." Other audible words include "beeotch," "bitch," "vagina," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Characters use and often talk about high-end brands like Karl Lagerfeld, Ungaro, Chanel, and Marchesa. Tinsley and her sister also have their own line of handbags that they promote in some episodes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Most characters drink alcohol socially. One also smokes cigarettes and has recently been to rehab for alcoholism but quips, "I've been to rehab twice now; I'm still drinking. I do whatever I want."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that they'll be hard-pressed to find any positive role models -- or messages, for that matter -- in this label-heavy reality series that celebrates the empty lives of selfish socialites. And if that isn't enough to give you pause, there's always the show's reliance on verbal and physical conflict between characters that's peppered with bleeped swearing (think "f--k" and "s--t") and unconscionable insults like "Die in a fire. I don't care." Most of the action revolves around parties and bars, where alcohol flows freely, and one of the characters has been to rehab for his drinking. Twice.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
In HIGH SOCIETY, New York City socialite Tinsley Mortimer is trying to start afresh after divorcing her seemingly perfect husband...much to the chagrin of her disapproving mother, who thinks she's making the biggest mistake of her life. While Tinsley sorts things out, she looks to her sister Dabney and best friend Alexandra for support. But their circle also includes drama-prone princess Jules and feisty fashion plate PJ, who are constantly at each other's throats.
Is It Any Good?
High Society might emerge as another guilty pleasure reality series along the lines of The Real Housewives franchise or Keeping Up with the Kardashians. But, in reality (ahem), it's just as sleazy as Jersey Shore. Sure, Tinsley and her friends clean up a lot better than Snooki and The Situation, but their "high society" antics are trashy at best.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Tinsley's decision to participate in a reality show that clearly shows her and her family in a negative light. Why would she agree to do it, and what do you think she's getting out of it?
How much of what you're seeing here is real? Do you think any of the characters or plot lines are engineered to amplify the level of onscreen conflict? Why would that create a better show in theory?
Are there any characters you admire? Why or why not?
- Premiere date: March 10, 2010
- Cast: Tinsley Mortimer
- Network: CW
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: February 25, 2022
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.
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