Resident Advisors

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Resident Advisors TV Poster Image
Collegiate comedy is full of clichés, drinking, and sex.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show plays on clichés about dorm life, including excessive drinking, drug use, and rampant casual sexuality. It's funny, but it doesn't paint a very responsible picture of the college experience. Characters are typecast and mostly one-dimensional, which makes the jokes obvious.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Olivia is earnest and well intentioned, but even her best efforts usually are undermined by the shortcomings of her advisors team. One RA stands out as a hard worker (he holds down multiple jobs in addition to being a student), but he's often the brunt of jokes because of it. 

Violence
Sex

Teens and young adults engage in a lot of casual sex. Most of it isn't shown, but the fact that it's going on is talked about at great length. Masturbation euphemisms such as "sizzle his bacon" and "flogging your dolphin." Mention of dry humping, "tapping that," autoerotic asphyxiation, sexually transmitted diseases, and having sex during a woman's period. Full-frontal male nudity with the groin blurred.

Language

"Damn," "hell," "d--k," and "ass." "S--t" is edited. Body references such as "penis" and "vagina."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking at parties and around the dorm. Many students are shown drunk or stoned, and their excessive behavior is meant to be funny. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Resident Advisors is a comedy series set in a college dorm where the underclassmen and their questionable authority figures engage in all kinds of excessive behavior. There's frequent drinking, which often results in public drunkenness and questionable decisions, plus many examples of teens being stoned, though drug use isn't shown. Most students seek out casual sex, with some making it a goal to sleep with as many partners as they can. You'll hear lots of euphemisms for intercourse and masturbation and detailed accounts of every imaginable sexual topic, including jokes about the futility of trying to push abstinence. For the most part, the RAs advocate all of it, and some even join in the behavior themselves, rarely experiencing realistic consequences. Mature teens (particularly those in college themselves) will find the show amusing, but, for younger and impressionable ones, it sends some iffy messages about the reality of these exploratory years. 

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What's the story?

College is a time of exploration and discovery, as is evidenced by the goings-on in the average college dorm. RESIDENT ADVISORS is a comedy series that follows those antics from the point of view of the RAs whose job it is to ensure the underclassmen adhere to the rules. But what happens when the RAs are the ones breaking them? For RA manager Olivia (Jamie Chung), keeping order and impressing her faculty advisor just got a lot harder thanks to the motley crew assigned to her dorm. Where raging hormones and newfound freedom meet, there are bound to be sparks -- and the occasional four-alarm fire.  

Is it any good?

Conjure up every cliché you've ever heard about dorm life, and you can pretty much guess the direction Resident Advisors takes at the get-go. If this comedy is to be believed, the college years are saturated in alcohol and accented by the occasional drug or two. Even more dominant is the seemingly requisite sexual experimentation, so rampant that RAs stock condoms by the case and decorate hall bulletin boards with cut-outs of smiling sperm wearing them as hats to advocate safe sex. For those who are safely in the midst of or beyond those admittedly crazy years, Resident Advisors is a laugh-out-loud comedy that also reminds us how TV often misrepresents the truth.

But the messages get more complex when you're talking about teens who don't have the life experience to separate fact from the show's exaggerated suggestions of college life. Unless you're there to set them straight, what they'll take away from watching is that rules and responsibility are mere speed bumps on the path to truly embracing the full collegiate experience, frequent "sexiling" (booting your roommate to the curb so you can have sex) and copious drinking included.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about role models in this show. Do any stand out as positive ones? Can a good role model make bad decisions and still teach some positive lessons? 

  • Teens: In what ways does this show paint an inaccurate picture of college life? Could any of these characters succeed as students, given their extracurricular pursuits? What are your goals for college?

TV details

For kids who love college comedy

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