By Brenda Kienan,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sex appeal vs. smarts in a mature dramatic comedy.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Compares the relative merits of career vs. personal life, glamour vs. substance, and sex appeal vs. smarts. At the same time, Pepper and her friends are young and single and have casual sexual relationships.
Violence & Scariness
Occasionally the stories Pepper covers touch on violence; no blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Fairly tame bedroom scenes; kissing; lots of flirty banter.
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Infrequent, minor-league cursing; one bleeped "f--k" (the saying of which had major consequences).
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Products & Purchases
Specific product names are mentioned to establish status.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking; one character mixed Xanax and drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this dramedy takes on issues such as balancing work and personal life, comparing newsroom glamour with substance, and the relative merits of sexiness vs. smarts. Especially the latter: The series is all about whether sex appeal and professional ability can coexist peacefully. Some families might find the sexy storylines and dialogue a bit racy. Also, some male characters seem to treat women as objects (patting their behinds, talking down to them), but that's part of the "sex in the workplace" setup.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Sexy, smart Pepper Dennis (Rebecca Romijn), top reporter at a top Chicago TV station, wants to be the news anchor. She's got the right stuff for the job; as she tells the station manager, she'd make a \"solid, truth-hunting, very photogenic news anchor.\" But newly hired Charlie Babcock (Josh Hopkins) gets the position instead, which is particularly annoying to Pepper because he's also smart, talented, and very good looking. In fact, Charlie is pretty much Pepper's ideal man -- and now he's practically her boss.
Is It Any Good?
As Pepper chases stories, always looking like a million bucks, cameraman Chick (Rider Strong), who admires and lusts after Pepper, chases right behind her. Often, she falls on her face, literally and metaphorically, but she always gets up and keeps going. The comic timing is spot-on, although some of the set-ups are a bit obvious. When a bank security guard points out an unexploded paint bomb next to Pepper, who's dressed in white from head-to-toe, it's a sure bet that the paint bomb will accidentally go off, splattering blue paint all over her -- on camera. The writing is also somewhat uneven; Romijn delivers her lines with gusto, but some of them come out sounding clunky or forced.
PEPPER DENNIS takes a satirical run at the idea that women can be both very intelligent and drop-dead attractive, while also exploring how a woman might have to choose between her career and her love life. As a character, Pepper Dennis is somewhat reminiscent of Murphy Brown. But Romijn has put her own stamp on the driven newswoman character and plays the part with sharp comedic instincts.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what role attractiveness plays in a TV personality's qualifications. Are looks as important as substance, character, talent, and experience? Should they be? Also, what are the potential problems of a workplace romance? Can women be at the top of their chosen career and still have a satisfying romantic life? What sacrifices might you have to make to succeed at work? Are these issues the same for men and women? If you had to choose whether to work to live or live to work, which would you pick?
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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