The Bedford Diaries

TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
The Bedford Diaries TV Poster Image
College students gone wild. For mature viewers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

College students hook up frequently for casual sexual encounters; undergraduates have relationships with married professors; students mock a character who survived a suicide attempt. On the plus side, the cast is fairly diverse, and lessons are learned after some relationships gone wrong.


The main characters all take a sexual behavior seminar in which they delve into their own sexual histories in detail (for homework, they record racy video diary confessionals). Since this is basically a soap opera, sex plays a starring role in the characters' interactions outside of class, too.


Fairly tame ("hell," "ass," "son of a bitch").

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social and underage drinking (typical for the college setting); one character is a recovering alcoholic.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this steamy, teen-targeted series takes place on a college campus, it's a lot more soap opera than study hall. Both in and out of the central sexual behavior seminar, titillating topics and behavior are the norm: students record voyeuristic videos, a married professor has an affair with multiple female students, a predatory sophomore makes a naïve freshman her conquest. Additionally, one character has returned to campus after a suicide attempt.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byiiiiiqra April 9, 2008

What's the story?

THE BEDFORD DIARIES centers around the lives of a group of students attending a small liberal arts college in Manhattan who are brought together in a thought-provoking human behavior and sexuality seminar where they must examine their sexual pasts and deal with their often-convoluted relationships in the present. Attending the seminar are Sarah (Tiffany Dupont), the student body president who has had an affair with a professor; cocky newspaper editor and wealthy recovering alcoholic Richard (Milo Ventimiglia); Natalie (Corri English), a cute co-ed who is the sole survivor of a mass suicide attempt the year before; Zoe (Victoria Cartagena), a promiscuous-but-technically-virginal sophomore; Lee (Ernest Waddell), an innocent freshman who lives at home with Mom; and Owen (Penn Badgley), Sarah's younger brother who has an eye for the ladies. Matthew Modine plays David Macklin, the seminar professor who coaxes out their innermost secrets via video diaries.

Is it any good?

Viewers looking for intelligent programming will be sorely disappointed. That's because The Bedford Diaries is like Felicity on a steroid/Viagra cocktail. The ivy-decked buildings and snow-covered walkways are the only things that resemble a typical college campus. Instead of studying, students are thinking about sex, having sex, or discussing sex. Instead of focusing on choosing a major, the students are choosing their next bed partner.

Indeed, the show is so racy that The WB voluntarily deleted two controversial scenes from the pilot in the hopes of avoiding an FCC fine (the uncut version is available on The WB's Web site). Likewise, parents who allow their teens to watch should do so with caution.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sex and voyeurism. Many of the teens who will be watching this show probably haven't had sex yet. What are their expectations? Their fears and concerns? Why is the idea of listening in on someone else's confessions so thrilling? Also, are the situations depicted in the series realistic? Do the characters seem like the type of people you really expect to meet in college?

TV details

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