A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Themes of community, solidarity, and mindful self-directed growth are prevalent throughout. The young main characters constantly reflect on who they are and what they want, shaped by the knowledge of the adults they interact with. They support and help one another, confront their mistakes, and stay strong in the face of the legacy of colonization and oppression.
Positive Role Models
The main characters acknowledge how some of their actions, like stealing, negatively affect those around them and make genuine attempts to apologize for their mistakes and make things right. Regardless of age or gender, all of the characters are rounded and relatable.
Follows the lives of Indigenous youth from an unspecified tribe. Created by a mostly Indigenous cast and crew based on their own experiences, the series tells genuine Indigenous stories that avoid generalizations or stereotypes. The show does things like including -- but not overexplaining -- words, phrases, and jokes that may not immediately make sense to non-Indigenous audiences, hopefully encouraging them to learn more about this culture. At the same time, the show provides a comfortable space for Indigenous viewers to enjoy such references.
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Violence & Scariness
A character is beaten up by a small group. While nothing gory or extended is shown, there are situations suggesting that the group should learn how to fight should they get attacked again.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character wakes up in the bed of someone she went on a date with the night before.
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Language is constant, with many uses of the words "f--k" and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Conscious of racist stereotype of substance abuse by Native Americans, the show addresses the topic by depicting adults drinking, sometimes excessively, as well as using marijuana in a way that clearly warns against the risk and dangers of substance use -- e.g., an instance of teenagers stealing marijuana from a neighbor; they face negative consequences.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Reservation Dogs is a coming-of-age comedy about four teenagers living on a Native American reservation -- tribe unspecified -- in rural Oklahoma. The teens (Bear, Elora Dannen, Willy Jack, and Cheese) struggle with the prospect of never getting the chance to leave where they live and long for a fresh start in sunny California. There's some fighting, and drug and alcohol use includes marijuana. Language is constant, with many uses of the words "f--k" and "s--t." This series was created by and stars all Indigenous people, which is unfortunately rare in mainstream TV and media and may bring up lots of conversations about Native representation, struggles, and culture.
Is It Any Good?
Yes, this comedy is funny, but that's not the best part about it -- it's that it places the experiences of Indigenous youth in the spotlight. Created by a mostly Indigenous cast and crew, Reservation Dogs draws from their real-life experiences and leads to a refreshingly authentic vibe, wrapped up in some new takes on familiar television conventions. For instance, there are many sitcoms with an "everyone in the group has to go see a doctor" plotline or a special guest episode where a character connects with a long-lost family member. But that, when mixed with the Scooby-Doo-esque hijinks of the characters' petty crimes -- plus examples of uniquely Indigenous struggles and culture, like how Uncle Brownie prefers marijuana over what he calls "the White Man's alcohol" -- helps Reservation Dogs set a distinctive, highly enjoyable standard for diversity in comedy and entertainment.
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.