Rockville, CA

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Rockville, CA TV Poster Image
Online soap from Gossip Girl creator has iffy stuff.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This is a soap opera, so it's all about relationships. The cast is primarily Caucasian but does feature several people from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. The majority of musicians featured on the show are male.

Violence

Occasional arguments and fights break out over competing love interests. The club's bouncer sometimes has to get rid of rowdy patrons.

Sex

Some strong sexual innuendo, including kissing and heavy petting. Some characters make lewd movements when discussing sex. References to stripping. Words like "slut" and "vaginas" are used. One character's nickname is " The Douche."

Language

Uncensored strong language ranges from "stupid" and "hell" to curses like "bitch," "f--k," and "s--t."

Consumerism

The series is a blatantly promotional vehicle for a variety of independent bands, including The Kooks, Phantom Planet, and Passion Pit. All the bands featured on the series have pages on MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and/or YouTube. Beverage logos like Red Bull and Heineken are visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The series is set in a club, so alcohol is always present. There's lots of beer drinking; consumption of hard alcohol (scotch, vodka, gin) is also visible. Sometimes club patrons get drunk. Characters are also occasionally shown smoking joints and getting high.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that because this soapy drama from Gossip Girl/The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz airs online instead of via broadcast TV, it has fewer content restrictions than most primetime shows. Language is strong ("s--t," "f--k," etc.) and uncensored, and there's plenty of drinking, as well as some drug use. There's also some sexual innuendo (including references to being "slutty") and lots of relationship drama. The show, the characters, and the featured bands (which get lots of promotion on the show) all have an extended online presence on sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and/or YouTube.

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What's the story?

Online Web soap ROCKVILLE, CA centers on the romantic highs and lows of a group of twentysomething music lovers who regularly hang out at Club Rockville, a fictitious L.A. showcase for cool indie bands. Deb (Alexandra Chando) is a new talent scout for Wall-to-Wall Records who hangs out at the club looking for rising stars to sign; while working, she finds herself spending time with some of the club regulars, including sarcastic Hunter (Andrew J. West), flamboyant club co-owner Chambers (Ryan Hansen), waitress Callie (Jelly Howie), bassist Syd King (Matt Cohen), and Shawn (Bonnie Burroughs), the club's aging primary owner/matriarch. But music isn't the only thing in the air, and soon Deb and the rest of the gang find themselves pursuing a variety of love interests that lead to broken hearts -- and meaningful relationships.

Is it any good?

Like any typical soap opera, Rockville features endless conversations about the romantic entanglements among the diverse cast of characters. But what makes this series unique is the fact that it uses actual bands' performances as the backdrop for these stories. That means it also serves as a clear promotional vehicle for these bands, who surely don't mind the opportunity to increase their fan base and online presence.

It's an interesting concept, but (not surprisingly) the show's focus on the edgy independent music scene leads to iffy behavior, including lots of drinking and occasional marijuana use. Some of the conversations and song lyrics contain profanity. And while the series doesn't feature anything particularly explicit, there's plenty of sexual innuendo. Older teens should be able to handle it, but it's not a great choice for tweens and iffy at best for younger teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the similarities and differences between online shows and "regular" TV shows. What are some of the things that shows "aired" online can show or do that regular TV shows can't? Is one type of show "better" than the other? Why or why not? Families can also discuss the changes taking place in the music industry. Why must bands now heavily rely on the Internet to promote their music? What are some of the benefits of this kind of promotion? Drawbacks?

TV details

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