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Parents' Guide to

Savage U

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Candid, graphic talk about sex needs parental oversight.

TV MTV Reality TV 2012
Savage U Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Totally inappropriate

This man basically condones everything and does not support Christian values in relation to sexuality and much else.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

It's not news that sex is a big issue on teens' mind. Messages about it are everywhere they turn, from the shows they watch to the songs they hear on the radio to what their friends say and do. Savage U takes a no-holds-barred approach to talking about the topics that weigh on college students' (and, to some degree, teens') minds, and Savage -- who's known for his frankness, humor, and easygoing nature -- is the right man for the job. Some might find the show's honesty refreshing, and it certainly does raise a lot of timely issues that parents can discuss with their teens, not to mention that it promotes safe sexual health through condom use and frequent STD testing.

The problem is that the show presents Savage as the authority not just on the physical aspects of sex, but also on the emotional, personal, and moral ones. When a guy tells him he wants to try a threesome, Savage doesn't bat an eye before advising him to wait for the opportunity to arise and leap at it. On hearing of some buddies' competition for sexual conquests, Savage jovially asks about their current point totals. Besides the fact that it can be shocking to hear young people talk in lighthearted tones about such topics, the fact that more conservative viewpoints are often overlooked gives the impression that Savage condones any and all expressions of sexuality. For example, never is there mention of abstinence as an option for birth control or the suggestion that monogamy might be a foundation for a satisfying relationship. What's more, the content implies that nearly every college student is having sex, and a lot of it. It's this aspect of Savage U that will justifiably rankle parents, since it sensationalizes issues with repercussions for many families' belief systems. Bottom line? This isn't a great choice for solo teen viewing, but adults will find it a revealing glimpse into the sexual psyche of today's teens, which can help prepare parents for their own kids' questions on the subject matter.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: April 3, 2012
  • Cast: Dan Savage
  • Network: MTV
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Last updated: October 14, 2022

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