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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Cereal-box psychology does not make for healthy parenting.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teeny bathing suits and make-out sessions are bread and butter on this show. Promiscuous behavior by role models, teen sex and other questionable topics abound.
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Teens call each other "bitch." Adults make thinly veiled lewd sexual references.
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Products & Purchases
Sponsors for "surf contests" are real brand names, mentioned in obvious ways. Soundtrack for show is advertised after program.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Role models drink in every episode. Surfers drink before surfing. Free beer motivates surfers to compete. Hangovers keep characters in bed all day.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a show about adults, for adults. Talking about sex (and a fair amount of participating in it, too) is part of the show's fabric, as is a lot of casual drinking. Parenting skills are often trite and iffy, and the characters use a lot of borderline-swearing language.
Is It Any Good?
Like peering into a tide pool full of outlandish creatures, it's hard to look away from the imaginary world of Summerland -- but this show is perplexing to say the least. Half of the issues going on in the household are inappropriate for the kids who live there, which begs the question -- why bring kids into the mix at all? Of course, this premise is the challenge confronting the adults. But to imply that kids should watch Summerland simply because an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old are playing roles here is ridiculous. This is not family viewing. It is what junk food is to the average American -- you may crave it, but there is no substance whatsoever.
Although there are great waves to catch and an amusing time to be had trying to follow the exploits of the characters, some of the weak moral lessons here can be dangerously trite. Real problems like coping with the death of both parents and adjusting to a new culture are not going to disappear like the tide. And ultimately, even for all of her good intentions, Ava will never be mom to the three kids she inherits. These kids will likely instead adopt the habits put forth by her roommates, who have not quite grown out of the idea that life ain't nothing but a party. In short, be wary of Summerland -- because like the song "Hotel California" says, "you can check out, but you can never leave."
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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Our Editors Recommend
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