A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive messages include tolerance, the value of supportive friendships, and the importance of doing what feels right to you, even if others don't agree. There is some mockery directed at those who aren't interested in scholarly pursuits; Chelsea says that Grant isn't "the sharpest tool in the shed" and a character is shown as pretentious for saying he's a bookworm then championing The Da Vinci Code.
Positive Role Models
The characters on this show begin as stereotypes and later show hidden depth: Claire seems ditzy but has worked to support herself since she was a teen and is caring and kindhearted to her customers at the restaurant where she works. Chelsea seems judgmental, but she's also warm and accepting; Jayden is both superficial and a loyal friend.
Two of the main cast members are people of color, and there's diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual identity, gender expression, and intellectual ability and interest. In terms of body type and appearance, all the major and minor characters on this show are conventionally attractive.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jokes are frequently on the mature side and reference sex and body parts, like when Chelsea hugs Grant and says he's "hard" (referring to his back muscles), Grant looks down at his crotch and says, "No, that's just its resting size." In another scene, Grant refers to having had sex with two women; we're not sure if he means at the same time or not. Crushes and flirting play a major part in storylines; expect dating, kissing, and references to offscreen sex, boyfriends and girlfriends, and the like.
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Very occasional cursing: "damn," "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink at get-togethers and sometimes drink to excess, like when the roommates make a drinking game out of an old apartment inhabitants' stray pieces of mail.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pretty Smart is a sitcom about a group of roommates in Los Angeles that includes a pair of sisters trying to bond after becoming estranged while growing up. The overall mood of the show is upbeat and positive, and the roommates are also loyal friends who support and accept one another. The humor and themes can be mature however, like a scene in which a man refers to having sex with two women (and it sounds like it was at the same time) and an episode in which the roommate group plays a drinking game based around mail received by a former occupant of their apartment. Flirting, dating, kissing, crushes, and boyfriends and girlfriends (same- and opposite-sex) play a big part in storylines. People of color play main and side characters, though race/ethnicity is generally not referred to directly; diversity of gender expression and sexual identity is more prominent, as one member of the roommate group is proudly LGBT and teaches another roommate how to be casual about people who have different opinions and lifestyles than she does. Cursing is occasional: "damn," "hell." Characters read as stereotypes but later show hidden depths: kindness, tolerance, reliability, thoughtfulness.
Is It Any Good?
An easy binge that's lighter than air and lots of fun, this multi-camera sitcom has unexpected heart, and lots of TV-royalty talent behind and in front of the cameras. To begin with, the cast boasts a minor rogue's gallery of millennial TV faves: Emily Osment (breakthrough role: Hannah Montana) in the lead and Gregg Sulkin (Wizards of Waverly Place) as the Joey Tribbiani of the group. Pretty Smart was also co-created by Jack Dolgen and Doug Mand (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and How I Met Your Mother), so viewers tempted to write off this guilty pleasure of a sitcom may want to give it another look, especially if the ol' "the gang has adventures" setup still holds appeal for them.
Though Pretty Smart does traffic in some predictable storylines (Chelsea feels like an outcast at a party, Jayden's estranged mom shows up to cause chaos), it's also by turns sweet (scenes in which Chelsea and Claire bond are standouts) and clever (a first-season episode in which the roommates imagine a life for a former tenant of their apartment based on the mail that still comes for him is slapstick genius). It's like a second coming of Friends -- and since most TV fans have already absorbed all those episodes, Pretty Smart is a worthy followup in the same cheerily artificial tradition that goes down easily and makes people smile.
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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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