A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This Riverdale spin-off has a lighter tone than the originals, with soap opera-style complications like romance and career travails instead of murdery and mystery. Messages of perseverance and teamwork come through, with the series clearly in sympathy with dreamers who are willing to put in the work to move ahead.
Positive Role Models
The cast boasts ethnic and racial diversity, though main characters are all conventionally attractive and thin young people. Jorge, a drag artist and gay, meets resistance for his gender presentation and sexuality, but accepts himself and is accepted by his loved ones. Female characters are occasionally competitive in an unrealistic way, like when a co-worker of Katy schemes to ruin her reputation with their unpleasant boss. "You're a gutter girl from the Lower East Side," sneers the co-worker. In another scene, a woman is called a "jealous hag." Moments of body shaming too, like when Jorge is told he's "too skinny" and responds, "Thank you very much."
Violence & Scariness
One character is a prizefighter; expect to see his bouts.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romance looms large in the story's dramas; expect romantic complications, flirting, dating, kissing (same- and opposite-sex). Katy has a serious boyfriend, who seems to walk around in his underwear a lot, and we see them waking up together in bed in their underwear. Jorge is a drag artist; expect to see his performances.
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Language is infrequent: "damn," "hell," "screw." A woman is called a "skinny bitch" and a "jealous hag."
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Products & Purchases
Katy's work at a fictional department store involves a lot of luxury brands: Dom Perignon, Chanel, Versace, etc. We see expensive clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories. A villain criticizes a co-worker for being born on the Lower (instead of the Upper) East Side.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes take place at bars, with partygoers drinking. Roommates toast each other with champagne after a success. Katy decides to quit her job, implying that drinking gave her courage. "Maybe it's the vodka talking," she says before announcing her intentions.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Katy Keene is a Riverdale spin-off that has a lighter tone and focuses on the romantic and career travails of a 20-something woman. The cast is diverse in terms of race, sexual identity, and ethnicity, and show perserverance and teamwork in moving ahead in their careers and personal lives. There's some body shaming (a character says "thank you very much" when told he's "too skinny"), classism, and characters who are unrealistically competitive, like a co-worker of Katy's who sabotages her at work. But relationships between main characters are sweet and supportive. Jorge is a drag artist; expect to see his performances and characters criticizing his gender presentation and sexuality. He accepts himself, however, and is loved and accepted by friends and family. Characters are preoccupied by romance; expect romantic complications, dating, flirting, same- and opposite-sex kissing. Katy has a boyfriend who walks around a lot in his boxer briefs; we also see the pair waking up in bed together in their underwear. Scenes take place at bars, and roommates drink together frequently. Katy also works at a department store where we see expensive clothing and accessories, and hear about a lot of luxury brands: Versace, Chanel, Dom Perignon. Language is infrequent: "damn," "hell," "screw," "bitch."
Is It Any Good?
It's a little silly and cheese-laden, but this series' ample charms are clear from the moment the viewer first recognizes that this is a sort of NYC-specific fairy tale. Many will probably be reminded of a kind of Sex and the City junior, with its gorgeous characters alternately weathering romantic and career complications while frequently underlining how lucky they are to do it in NYC, but what it resembles even more strongly is The Bold Type, that underappreciated, underseen series about ambitious young women working at a fashion magazine. Like The Bold Type, Katy Keene is full of blithe anachronisms: Just as fashion magazines haven't been rolling in dough or culturally influential since the century's turn, it's odd to employ Katy, a fledgling designer, at a department store that seems to be modeled after Bergdorf Goodman circa 1960. Then too, there's the matter of all the outdated names. Surely there's not a 20-something Buzz, Katy, or Pepper left in the world, and even though said names and characters were largely imported from Archie Comics, it still strikes an odd tone.
Still, there are plenty of things the series gets right, and still others that are so frothy and fun that viewers won't care. The apartment that Josie, Katy, and Jorge share is authentically small and grimy, real NYC-style, and though Josie is the hottest musical star to ever emerge from Riverdale, the big-city folks who first hear her music dismiss her as sweet but colorless. The supportive relationships between Katy and her friends is also charming, and rings true, even if the show sometimes leans a bit hard on female competitiveness for drama (we could seriously do without Katy's sabotaging co-worker). Jorge's storyline, in which the sometimes drag artist is desperately seeking an entertainment milieu in which his somewhat feminine presentation is an asset instead of a downside, is also quite modern and delightful, and Jonny Beauchamp is so relatable that you'll instantly be on his side. In short, Katy's not perfect, but in terms of soapy, light, easy-to-digest dramas, it scores.
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.