Manhattan Love Story

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Manhattan Love Story TV Poster Image
Romcom-y sitcom's twist tells inside story of relationships.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series explores the highs and lows of romantic relationships. Though it's primarily a comedy and thus pokes fun at awkward moments and characters' insecurities, it also shows those characters evolving in positive ways because of their relationship. Issues such as body image and self-esteem are raised as characters judge potential mates by their physical appearance, sometimes using terms such as "ugh-o" to describe them. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Peter's cynicism about relationships -- and life in general -- is countered by Dana's wide-eyed optimism and overall exuberance. They're an odd pairing, but they manage to bring out the best in each other most of the time. Amy is demanding and uncompromising, and her husband kowtows to her whims. 

Violence
Sex

Limited physical interplay, but casual sex is considered the norm among young singles, and both men and women do their share of ogling. Because the show makes viewers privy to the characters' thoughts as well, there are many references to sensitive areas such as bras, boobs, and butts. A woman mentions having a first orgasm she didn't give herself. There are implications of homosexuality and mention of porn.

Language

"Dammit" and "ass"; "s--t" is edited. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink mixed drinks and beer with meals or in social settings with no ill effects. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Manhattan Love Story is a sitcom that pokes fun at the dating and relationship process but also shows how perseverance and willingness to compromise can pay off in the long run. There are plenty of references to sex, including hints of masturbation and mention of orgasm, but physical contact is limited. Men and women are guilty of using physical appearances to judge other people, but instances exist that illustrate the value of looking past first impressions. Adults drink on-screen (but with no ill effects), and strong language includes "ass" and "dammit," with "s--t" edited. 

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What's the story?

MANHATTAN LOVE STORY follows the developing romance between two New Yorkers whose inner thoughts accompany their dialogue. The story begins with Dana's (Analeigh Tipton) relocation from small-town life to Manhattan, where she's gotten the big career break she's been hoping for and can't wait to dive into the New York culture. When her domineering college friend-turned-roommate, Amy (Jade Catta-Preta), sets her up with her cynical brother-in-law, Peter (Jake McDorman), the two initially butt heads, but eventually Peter softens to Dana's wide-eyed optimism and sense of adventure and she comes to appreciate his lesser-known sweet side. 

Is it any good?

Manhattan Love Story's shtick isn't entirely new, but it does give this otherwise sappy sitcom a much-needed shot in the arm. It's one thing to know two characters' personalities and histories enough to accept their odd pairing; it's another to hear each one's inner thoughts in real time. While making small talk, Dana wonders whether Peter knows that she's aware he's looking at her boobs, and Peter ponders her fit of tears over dinner, for instance. While the idea of the world being privy to our thoughts might be appalling, it makes for some pretty decent comedy when it's someone else's soul being bared.

For all its prime-time polish and carefully planned trappings, there's also a certain rawness to Peter and Dana's story that's really likable. The show doesn't presume that relationships follow a natural flow from beginning to end (even if other pairings in the story imply that's the case). They're messy, complicated, and a lot of work on both parties' parts, and at least some of that plays out in this story. If your teens watch, it can prompt some discussions about dating and relationships in their lives. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how TV shows such as this one cast love and relationships. Are the relationships in this story healthy and fulfilling? Are any one-sided? Do you think society has a generally positive or negative view of marriage and monogamy? 

  • This series touches on the hopes and fears involved in starting over. Why are new beginnings scary? How do they challenge us to grow? What can we learn from our successes? Our failures?

  • Do these characters make good decisions? Do their circumstances reflect your teens' in any way? How far would they go to make their dreams reality?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love romantic comedy

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