A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Red Oaks is a mature, exclusively streaming series with a throwback feel for big-screen comedies of the 1980s. That translates into unbleeped swearing (from "f--k" to "c--ksucker"), raunchy sex talk and nudity, social drinking, and recreational drug use (mainly pot).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
With his father (Richard Kind) in questionable health and his career path uncertain, college student David Myers (Craig Roberts) takes a summer job as an assistant tennis pro at the prestigious RED OAKS Country Club, where he works under an unabashed ladies' man (Ennis Esmer) and butts heads with the arrogant club president (Paul Reiser). But, while figuring out what makes him happy, David is forced to weigh his feelings for his longtime girlfriend (Gage Golightly) and the club president's intriguing daughter (Alexandra Socha).
Is it any good?
Executive produced by Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh, Red Oaks feels like a love letter to the raunchy sex comedies of the 1980s, which admittedly might not appeal to everyone. But those who pine for al fresco debauchery and gratuitous boob shots -- not to mention a nostalgic soundtrack -- will find a sufficiently addictive series with memorable characters and great performances, in particular from the highly quotable Esmer and Josh Meyers (the brother of SNL alum and late-night host Seth).
Red Oaks isn't aimed at younger audiences, so any positive messages stemming from David's burgeoning self-awareness come with a heaping side of strong language, partying, and sex. Any one of those elements could distract teens from the series' more thoughtful takeaways, but the presence of all three points decidedly toward precaution, making Red Oaks a series that's better saved for adults.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Red Oaks' central message of finding happiness however you define it. Do you agree with one character's quote (attributed to Buddha) that "life is basically a big wheel of suffering, a merry-go-round we're all stuck on" and, more importantly, that "most people are just too scared to get off"? What makes you happy?
Red Oaks pays homage to coming-of-age comedies of the 1980s such as Caddyshack. Which elements make it feel "retro" as opposed to "modern"? Is the show's target audience today's teens -- or their parents?
Does the fact that Red Oaks streams exclusively on Amazon allow it to do things other comedy series can't? How well would the series play on network television?
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