A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Messages vary with episodes, but some in particular carry themes of communication and courage, with the series' sympathies clearly with those who are bold yet caring.
Positive Role Models
As episodes are brief and new characters are introduced on each, it can be tough to get to know characters. Some in particular, though, are admirable, such as Lexi, a young woman struggling with a mental illness who is able to find the help and support she needs to live a happier life.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
This show is based on romance and every episode contains romantic elements and complications. That said, sexual content is restrained: though characters talk about having sex, we generally see kissing (same and opposite sex), then the camera cuts away, and we may see characters briefly in bed together, implying sex has taken place. Dialogue can be mature: characters refer to feeling "horny," a man asks if the end of a date is a "Your place or mine moment."
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Language varies with each episode but is generally infrequent. You'll hear occasional words like "f--k," "s--t," "hell," "ass," "bastard."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes take place in bars, and characters occasionally overindulge and then act sloppy or have the courage to make bold romantic moves.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Modern Love is a series based on the New York Times column of the same name -- it's an anthology series that tells a different story about love with different characters on each episode. Messages and the amount of mature content varies with each episode, but since the series is about romance, expect lots of talk about love, dating, and marriage, including same- and opposite-sex kissing and implied sex (though the camera cuts away just after the kissing). Characters refer to being horny, and some are interested in casual sex. In one vignette, a women gets pregnant and considers an abortion (but winds up raising the baby). Language tends to be infrequent, but various episodes have words like "f--k," "s--t," "hell," "ass," "bastard," and "bitch." Many scenes take place at bars, with characters drinking; sometimes the alcohol appears to have little effect, at other times, characters seem to use the alcohol to bolster their courage to make romantic moves, and appear out of it and sloppy. Themes of courage and communication show through as characters learn to better understand each other and improve their relationships.
Is It Any Good?
It's really hard to pull off a believable half-hour love story, so perhaps this anthology series can't be blamed for being uneven. Think about it: You have to build a world, introduce two characters, and make a story arc out of the connection between them, all moves that eat time. So it shouldn't surprising that Modern Love has its ups and downs, just like the column that spawned it (that's kinda hated even by those who read it regularly). At its best, this show is radiant and painfully romantic: Hathaway's turn as a charming young attorney who's been hiding her mental health diagnosis from her friends and family in "Take Me As I Am, Whoever I Am," is perhaps the season's high point. As we meet Lexi, she's riding a manic wave, wearing sequins at the grocery store, picking up a handsome man at the fruit counter, running on all pistons at work; she's so exuberant that the camera pulls away for a Broadway-style number and a Mary Tyler Moore-style hat-throwing moment.
But moments later, she's fallen into the trench, showing up for work and for dates with messy hair and a monosyllabic mumble. No one knows quite what to make of her -- until an honest admission of her struggles sets her back on the path to both a happy life and steady love. It's a simple, quite satisfying story about a woman who finds herself and is then able to seek love, instead of a woman whose redemption is found in the arms of a man. It's true, not all of Modern Love's episodes are as fulfilling, with their whiny (mostly) rich and white people, and gratuitous "THIS IS FILMED IN NEW YORK" shots of yellow taxis and subway stops and the Central Park Zoo. But when this show hits the target, you'll feel the love.
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.