A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sweet/Vicious is a teen-oriented dramedy that deals with vigilante justice as a response to sexual assault on college campuses. While the show can be very funny, it's serious about rape being treated as a crime, and its two main characters use violent retribution to fight back for victims. It contains a sexual assault scene (offered in context), and beatings, stabbings, and fighting are frequent. There’s also extensive discussion of sexuality and assault and some bad language ("bitch," "s--t," and "f--k" are bleeped). Drinking and pot dealing (and smoking) are common. It's better suited for older teens, but some parents may want to watch along with their teens as a way to open up conversations about some of these complex issues.
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What's the story?
SWEET/VICIOUS is a dramedy about an unlikely pair of college students who lead double lives as vigilantes seeking justice for sexual assault victims. Jules (Eliza Bennett) is a sorority sister on academic scholarship who's kept the fact that she was raped by a fellow student a secret. Meanwhile, Ophelia (Taylor Dearden) is a pot-dealing, computer-hacking outcast who's one step away from being expelled. A series of circumstances leads to their connection, and together they begin to digitally track down the men responsible for committing these crimes and use ninja-like fighting skills to punish them. Keeping their secret from folks like Jules' best friend Kennedy (Aisha Dee) and Ophelia's pal Harris (Brandon Mychal Smith) isn’t easy; nor is trying to keep up with school work. But Jules and Ophelia believe their work will stop the abuses taking place.
Is it any good?
It's hard to imagine using comedy to address campus rape, but this teen-oriented, edgy, and offbeat series manages to do it successfully. The flawed, woefully mismatched duo is amusing, as are some of the campier qualities of the overall show. But it isn’t completely silly, and throughout it all Jules and Ophelia represent themselves as empowered women who choose to seek justice for those who can't get it from law enforcement or who are too afraid to speak out.
The series tells an entertaining story, and there is no doubt that this duo will have its fair share of fans. But this doesn't overshadow the fact that it centers on sexual assault, and it underscores the fact that women are frequently raped at colleges and universities across the country. Some folks will find the premise disturbing, but Sweet/Vicious can be used as an unconventional vehicle from which to begin conversations about sexual assault.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way Jules and Ophelia are choosing to confront sexual assault on college campuses in Sweet/Vicious. Does the fact that the people they're violently punishing are alleged rapists justify their behavior? Why don't they go to the police? Should you do what they're doing in real life?
Is using humor as a way of talking about difficult or taboo issues appropriate? Why, or why not? Does Sweet/Vicious handle the subject matter appropriately?
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, where should you go and what should you do to get help? How can you support those who have gone through it?
For kids who love drama
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