A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Themes of compassion, empathy, self-control stand out, with sympathies clearly on side of underdogs; authenticity and kindness. Violence is made light of with comedy, which may give some parents pause, may inspire family conversations about what might actually happen in real life if people, say, hit each other with canes or knock each other over the head with a gun.
Positive Role Models
Southerners and Christians are treated with dignity, respect. Sterling and Blair don't always obey rules set down by church, school, parents, but they take time to think about their actions, make sure they're kind, justifiable. Their faith is touchingly genuine, and they become better people over course of series. Other characters are less charitable -- e.g., April, who uses good deeds to brag and threatens to expose another character's private life. Iffy messages about women and sexuality: A sex worker is called a "whore," a man says that a girl wearing a brief top in a social media post with her boyfriend can't possibly be the love of his life. Cast has a couple of strong Black characters. Show talks frankly about race (e.g., Sterling and Blair can enter a club that doesn't accept Black members), but their school is curiously White, considering racial makeup of Atlanta, where show is set.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is cartoonish, played for laughs but can be more intense than expected in light comedy, such as when Sterling knocks a bail-jumper out by hitting him in the head with a gun, or when Blair jumps on top of a moving car. Crimes committed by bail-jumpers often have a comic aspect -- e.g., a woman is arrested for defacing Confederate statues. But in at least one case, a character commits a violent crime (beating up a sex worker) that doesn't feel funny.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual content is frank, like show's opening scenes (Blair and Sterling having sex with their respective boyfriends in different cars) and discussion of condoms and a hand maneuver one girl uses to especially pleasure her partner. Couples have sex with rhythmic motions and moaning; no nudity. Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, references to sex. When boys and girls have sex, the boys don't seem to do anything in particular to give their female partners pleasure, and the show doesn't make references to any expectation that they will. Sexual talk is joking but explicit, with references to "boning," "getting laid," being "slutty," doing "everything but," and more. Both male and female characters are shamed for having sex in a religious environment, which the show presents as wrong.
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Language is frequent: "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," "c--t," "goddammit." A lot of sexual words too: "horny," "slutty," "whore," "tramps," "boobs," "t-ts."
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Products & Purchases
Brands are mentioned frequently: Chik-fil-A, gun manufacturers.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The TBH teens live pretty clean lives. Sterling and Blair are quite anti-smoking, and mention to a character they see buying cigarettes that they're unhealthy. They also say that smoking is gross.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Teenage Bounty Hunters is a comedy about Atlanta high schoolers who develop double lives as bounty hunters for hire. The show's tone is light and fun, and iffy stuff is played for laughs, but some content is more intense than the show's breezy vibe might suggest. Teens use violence to subdue bail-jumpers, including hitting someone in the head with a gun and knocking him unconscious, hitting another person with a cane in his midsection, jumping on a perp's car while it's moving, and more. The teens also use and brandish guns. There's no nudity, but sexual content is frank, including scenes in which characters have sex with rhythmic movements and moaning and talk about body parts ("boobs," "t-ts") and sexuality (being "horny," "boning," "getting laid"). Expect both same- and opposite-sex kissing, flirting, and dating. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," "c--t," "goddammit," "slut," and "whore." A sex worker is beaten by a client. There are at least two prominent Black characters, but a high school is mostly White, which is unusual for a diverse city like Atlanta. Christian and Southern characters are treated with dignity and respect and not mocked for their accents, lifestyle, or faith. Themes of compassion, empathy, and self-control are evident, with characters growing and showing their kinder, more thoughtful sides as the show goes on.
Is It Any Good?
Engaging, goofy fun, this easygoing comedy coasts on its premise and the charm of its two leads, who are aces as sweet, sincere teens exploring their badass streaks. Another thing that Teenage Bounty Hunters gets very right is its setting. There aren't many shows anchored in a conservative Southern Christian world, and still fewer that treat Christianity and Christians with dignity and respect. Sure, there are prigs and bullies around, like Sterling's early-season arch rival, April (Devon Hales), who threatens to expose Sterling's non-abstinent love life to the school and ruin her reputation. But though both Sterling and Blair tote guns, batter criminals, lie to their parents, and get enthusiastically physical with their significant others, their faith is genuine, and they spend a significant amount of time discussing with each other what's the truly right thing to do when faced with a quandary, rather than falling back on easy answers.
Teenage Bounty Hunters' Southern trappings are also spot-on. Whereas many movies and TV shows stereotype Southerners as yokels, this show is keyed into real life for a certain kind of Bible Belt living, with its lockups and bourbon, expensive hunting trucks, University of Georgia references (Go Dogs!), and everyone drinking out of Chik-fil-A cups. With that as a background, the fizzy chemistry between Phillips and Fellini, as well as between the pair and Hardison, is even more delightful. Teenage Bounty Hunters quickly settles into a perp-of-the-week groove, with longer arcs about the girls' school and home life and enough twists doled out regularly to keep things rolling along. It's lots of fun -- with an edgy streak that younger kids may not be ready for.
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