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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Family dynamics, friendship, and social pressure to conform are explored, resulting in positive messages about individuality and self-esteem. While mean-girl attitudes and bullying are common among teens -- and most of the supporting characters (especially the women) are stereotyped as divas, mom types, and geeks -- the cast's lack of diversity is intentional, meant to take a jab at the "white-washed" nature of suburban life.
Positive Role Models
Tessa tries to be open-minded about her new surroundings while holding tight to her values and self-image. George puts his daughter's needs first. Stereotypes among the supporting cast are extensive but, in some cases, draw attention to the show's positive social messages.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mostly inferences and innuendo, including mention of teens' sexual activity, adult infidelity, "screwing," homosexuality, "vagitarian," "nympho," and paraphernalia like "rubbers" or condoms. Teen girls dress provocatively in revealing tops and short skirts, and in some cases, their moms encourage them to sex up their outfits to appeal to guys. Heavy flirting is common by both adults and teens, and some couples do engage in make-out sessions.
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Occasional use of words like "damn," "bitch," and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Red Bull is the drink of choice for many of the characters, and the dialogue often draws attention to its prevalence in a way that pokes fun at their "addiction."
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some exchanges include references to smoking pot. Drinking in all forms (mixed concoctions, champagne, beer, wine) is common among adults.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fish-out-of-water comedy centers on a self-assured teen who's insightful, outspoken, and willing to stand up to peer pressure for her personal beliefs. Even better, these positive qualities are a direct result of the values instilled in her by her dad, whose devotion to his daughter makes him a model (but certainly not perfect) single parent. That said, the show falls back on stereotypes of suburbanites, socialites, and homosexuals for plenty of laughs, and there's a lot of sexual content that's definitely not appropriate for tweens (marital infidelity, teens talking about having sex, condoms). Language is also a concern ("bitch," "damn," "hell," and the like), as are exchanges between teens that make light of peer pressure and social bullying. If your teen is ready for this kind of content, though, this very funny series raises some discussion points for families and offers sweet moments that underscore themes like tolerance and respect for diversity.
Is It Any Good?
SUBURGATORY has lots of fun parodying wealthy suburban life as seen through the critical eyes of a couple of level-headed newcomers, and Tessa and George's attempts to find a place in such foreign surroundings are both entertaining and relatable to anyone who's ever felt like a social outsider. Kudos to the show's brain trust for going the extra mile, though, and giving some real depth to the characters, reflecting the changing face of the American family without sacrificing positive messages. George's relationship with his teenage daughter toes the line between authority and camaraderie, offering some heartwarming moments offset by enough snarky banter over things like curfew, driving privileges, and dating rules to keep it realistic.
This sitcom's focus on life through the eyes of a teen and her father beckons to viewers who can relate to one or both of the main characters, but the content does have some trouble spots for young teens. Sex (including homosexuality) is a common topic among adults and teens, language is an issue, and stereotypes are fairly harsh. Some teens are catty and manipulative, using other people to get what they want with little regard for their feelings. Predictably all of this content (and then some) is spun for humor, so it's important that viewers don't misinterpret it as a reflection of real life. However, it does raise some issues that will hit home with parents and teens, all while entertaining viewers with razor-sharp writing delivered by a fantastic cast.
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.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate