By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Reality show take on Gossip Girl life falls flat.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The featured teens live their lives with very few consequences, doing whatever they like when it comes to shopping, drinking, dating, and more. All of this sends some pretty iffy messages to teen viewers.
Positive Role Models
Completely positive role models are hard to find, but some teens are more admirable than others. One is fixated on getting into Harvard, for example, while another would rather focus on sex. Another 16-year-old lives curfew-free with her 18-year-old brother in the city while their parents -- who only drop in once a week -- live permanently in the Hamptons.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens talk about casual sex as a fact of life, with one claiming that "everyone has sex with each other and betrays each other."
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Lots of bleeped cursing (think "f--k" and all its incarnations), as well as audible words like "bitch," "ass," and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
It's not as label-heavy as you might expect, but high-end brand names like Jill Stuart and Rodarte are featured.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens are often shown in bars drinking alcohol (courtesy of fake IDs that most of them openly admit to having) and sometimes smoking cigarettes. Marijuana is mentioned.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know the "stars" of this reality series -- which has been billed as a "real-life Gossip Girl" -- are privileged teens who essentially live like adults. That includes frequenting bars and night clubs and drinking heavily with the help of fake IDs. They also discuss casual sex in matter-of-fact terms, drop names when it comes to expensive designer brands, and call each other every name in the book (including "motherf--ker," though words like that are bleeped). It's everything kids are already seeing on shows like Gossip Girl ... but it's real (or at least as real as reality TV gets). Proceed with caution.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
A reality series set in the upper echelons of New York City society, NYC PREP tracks the privileged lives of six wealthy prep school students. Most of them attend the same elite private school on the Upper East Side, but 15-year-old Taylor attends a magnet public school and mixes with kids of various backgrounds. Followed by the cameras, the teens go about their daily lives -- which often include hook-ups, friendship dramas, night club outings, high-end shopping trips, and more.
Is It Any Good?
Pointing out the fact that NYC Prep is a real-life Gossip Girl is sort of overstating the obvious. But even if you don't want to admit it (or watch it), it offers a fascinating and sometimes frightening peek into the world of the wealthiest 1 percent -- a world most of us will never experience firsthand.
After all, these cocktail-swilling kids are trying so hard to act like adults: They have the money to buy $675 sunglasses but lack the maturity to understand how life really works when you're trying to pay your own way. And yet they're fully aware that starring on a reality show somehow makes them even more "important." With that knowledge -- and the means to do pretty much whatever they want -- they're all too willing to preen and spout self-assured statements like "If you were a veggie burger, I'd so eat you."
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the lives of these wealthy teens differ from the lives of most other high school students. Why were these particular teens chosen for the show? Do they have fewer worries than you do? Are there things they might have to worry about that you don't? Whose life would you rather live? Parents can also point out the obvious: That using fake IDs to get into bars and purchase alcohol is illegal -- and could even land teens in jail. What other consequences can behavior drinking, smoking, and casual sex have?
- Premiere date: June 23, 2009
- Network: Bravo
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: October 13, 2022
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