A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The world these characters live in isn't kind, and the show, in general, reveals the dark side of the modeling world (including drug abuse, eating disorders/body image issues, and sexual promiscuity).
Positive Role Models
Although the main characters are good at heart, the plot hints that they may be corrupted down the road. Some secondary characters are obviously poor role models (engaging in sexual harrassment, dishonesty, etc.).
Violence & Scariness
Some mild fistfights between characters, plus verbal shouting matches.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some sexual innuendo between characters (both teens and adults) and frequent flashes of skin. Both male and female characters appear topless, although breasts are always covered -- with hands, arms, or a sheet.
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It's not constant, but there's some audible use of words/phrases like "son of a bitch" and "piss off."
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Products & Purchases
High-end designer brands (including Versace, Zac Posen, and Dolce & Gabbana) take center stage in the plot, and designers often appear as themselves.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character was rumored to be in rehab and is seen taking prescription medication. Others drink alcohol, although models are told that they're not allowed to drink when they're working -- and that includes fashion industry parties.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fashion-centric drama is driven by high-end labels and, as the title suggests, focuses on impossibly beautiful people, two of whom are teen models coming of age in a very adult world. Although both appear to be good-hearted with a strong moral compass, they're constantly put into iffy situations that could tempt them to stray. Their friends and associates drink, take prescription drugs, obsess about their bodies and weight, and aren't above back-stabbing to get ahead in their careers. There's some sharp language, too, including phrases like "piss off" and "son of a bitch," as well as shirtless men (and women, who always cover their breasts) and sexual situations.
Is It Any Good?
Fashion television is undeniably hot right now, with the ongoing success of shows like Project Runway and America's Next Top Model. But even for fashion die-hards, The Beautiful Life is a bitter pill to swallow. Perhaps it's the clunky dialogue or the improbable "Iowa farm boy lands a major modeling gig while vacationing in New York" premise. But a few of the supporting performances weigh it down, too, much like a poorly chosen accessory. Supermodel Elle Macpherson, well cast as (what else?) a former supermodel who now owns a modeling agency, is a notable exception.
Whether the show's target audience -- teens -- will forgive its shortcomings in favor of its focus on expensive designer labels and the collective good looks of its cast is anyone's guess. It's kind of like a garment that looks stylish and expensive but, in reality, isn't very well made. It might sell ... but it probably won't last.
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.