A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The overall vibe of this show is light, bright, and friendly. "Come and join the fun, there's room for everyone," the students sing in the opening number to celebrate being back at school. Emphasis on living a balanced life with time for both work and fun; a villain in this series is a new principal who wants to show students how to succeed with extra-long school days and weekend classes that leave no time for music or dancing. Themes include compassion, empathy, perseverance, and teamwork, while the general message is for students to step out of their cliquish boxes and work together.
Positive Role Models
Some of the characters are stereotypical (e.g., the popular princess, the eager student) but there's also emphasis that they all have a place at Highland, and that everyone's unique talents are needed for performances that will engage audiences. Students work together on common goals, and are a united front despite their differences. Adults are almost absent; the main adult is an unsympathetic principal. Girls and boys are both dedicated to singing and the arts.
Students are diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, if not age or body type, with many main characters and side characters who are people of color. Both songs and dialogue emphasize that there are "squads" (cliques) at this high school: art squad, jock squad, VIPs (popular kids), and so on.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There are references to crushes, dating, girlfriends and boyfriends.
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Products & Purchases
It's emphasized that one high schooler is a rich "princess," and she mentions brands: "Hold on to your Prada bag and get comfy in your Gucci robe."
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Misfit: The Series is a TV show based on a trio of Dutch TV movies that began with 2017's Misfit. The show emphasizes creativity and unity: Students come together for a common goal (defying an overly stern principal who doesn't appreciate music or dance). It's said outright that everyone's talents have a place in a stage show, demonstrating the show's themes of teamwork, empathy, and compassion, as well as the perseverance the students need to keep creating when they're under stress. There's no cursing, drugs, drinking, violence, sex, or other mature images or storylines. Students divide themselves up into cliques (called "squads"), and one in particular is consumerist focused, with talk about brands and luxury. But all the squads have respect and appreciation for one another. There are some references to crushes, girlfriends, boyfriends, and dating. Two characters have a romantic attraction and flirt; expect a brief kiss between them. Students are diverse in terms of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and race, if not body type, age, or sexual identity. Adults are rare; parents always appear to be busy, and students are largely left to their own devices. Girls and boys are equally dedicated to singing and the arts.
Is It Any Good?
Candy-colored and bursting with music and dance, this Dutch series is like a lighter and less controversial Glee, with an emphasis on the students working together for a common goal. In this case, the common goal is resisting their new principal, Agnes Wilgenburg, who has vowed to change Highland High's image from creative to hard-working. She institutes school uniforms, clamps down on any song and dance, and forces the students to take a series of tests. If they don't collectively score high enough, Highland will be closed forever. Naturally, the students of Highland rebel, and plan to stage a gangbusters musical at an upcoming international presentation that will convince everyone that Highland's real strength is its creativity.
Cue the secret rehearsals! There's never any doubt that the talented Highland students will ultimately prevail, yet it's entertaining to watch members of all the school's "squads" (what cliques are called in the English translation) pull together to add their individual touches to the musical. The emphasis on students separating themselves into various interest groups is one of this show's only iffy features; after all, everyone contains multitudes and can be interested in many different things at once while holding down friendships with different types of people. In addition, some of the stereotypes are more questionable than others, like a group of "VIPs" who wear expensive clothing and talk frequently about image and luxury brands. But the overall message, that there's room for every voice in music and all talents are needed to make an amazing show, certainly can't be faulted, and Misfit: The Series goes down as easily as an ice-cream-colored dream.
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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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