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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 The Boys is a dark comedy series about a world in which superheroes aren't actually the good guys. This means that the "heroes" in the show are constantly doing terrible things including, but not limited to, sexual assault and acts of terrorism. As a result, the show contains just about every type of adult content you can imagine -- simulated sex, male and female nudity, violence, gore, profanity, drinking and drug use -- as well as dealing with the complex moral and ethical issues that the main characters find themselves embroiled in.
The Boys is one of the best television shows I have ever seen. I do like superhero movies but I’ve always felt like there’s something missing. This was what it was missing. The diversion of the genre is genius and has a ridiculous amount of production value. It’s rare to find a show that is this balanced, albeit perfectly balanced, on every level.
I am splitting this I’m up into the respective seasons.
Filled with mature content. Of every offense.
Violence happens at least once an episode. I’m pretty sure episode 6 is the only one without a particularly graphic death. Even in that episode bones are graphically broken, people are beaten and intensity is high. In all the other episodes though...
Superhero violence. Lasers, strong punching, etc. However, it’s extra gory here. People are blown and split into pieces in every fashion. Blood and gore are thrown around in every death and it is very graphic. Bones and organs are visible and are on full display. Peoples eyes are burned out and their brain is visible center frame. People are split into two, four, and fifty bazillion pieces. Eyes are ripped out. Heads are torn into pieces. Meter combat results in holes in human torsos. People are hit and bones are exposed.The list goes on and on. It is quite over the top, but it will turn the stomachs of several viewers.
Some deaths are more graphic than just mentioned, some by far, it just know it is one of the goriest shows on television.
Threat is a constant theme. Collateral damage is a theme. Sexual assault is a theme. All genders are harmed here. Graphically. It’s all here.
Overall, violence is comparable to a slightly gorier version of Tarantino. Yeah, that’s possible.
Sexuality: Like violence, it’s shown here. Sexual scenes are prevelent, and include nudity. Female nudity is shown. Male genitals are shown. Presumably, some of the sexuality is bent. Sexual assault is on display and is a main theme. There is something about every episode.
Also sexually fueled talk is constant and includes every swear and level of graphicness on the face of this planet for a sex joke. Doesn’t shy away from anything. Almost everything offensive is said here.
Also, as a note, if homosexuality offends you, it is on display here as well among various characters.
Language: F**k is the most prevelent and is used several hundred times. Some paired with mother. C**t is used probably upward of 10 times an episode. C**k is used once of twice throughout the season. Everything is said here.
Consumption: Alcohol is consumed casually occasionally. Hard drugs are consumed. Product placement and pop culture jokes are used constantly.
Extra: Role models are iffy. Everyone has their own antagonist and conflicts. Just not a good shoe if you want an overly positive message.
If it was a film it actually probably would be rated NC-17 most likely for: Strong bloody violence and sexual content, grisly images, graphic nudity, drug use, and pervasive language.
As an episode guide, Gory violence happens at least once or twice an episode, a scene of sexual content occasionally throughout the episode, language is constant and strong and consumption is occasional, not helped at all by any good messages or role models.
Violence: Graphic violence multiple times an episode including: Superhero violence, criminal violence, implied violence, and threatened violence and even more. All shown violence is intensely gory and bloody, but as like the last season, is exaggerated and comical. People are split into bazillions if pieces, in half, limbs, heads, legs, organs, and more are ripped, torn, dismembered, removed, whatever you want to call it. There are some particularly gory deaths like someone’s head being ripped in half top to bottom. Guns are used, superhero weaponry is used, yes there are lasers. Threatened and implied violence are here. Sexual violence and torture are among the violent themes here. It’s constant, but the actual violence your expecting that is particularly gory only happens up to a few times an episode.
Language: F**k is used, again, hundreds of times throughout the about 8 hour season. I didn’t count, but it’s definitely up there. C**t, again, is used multiple times an episode. C**k and p***y are used once, and everything else is used throughout.
Sex: Not quite as graphic as season 1. Occasional sex happens occasionally, but nudity is limited to episode 3. Oh and there’s a really out of the blue self pleasure scene at the end of episode 8, like one of the, if not the last, scene. Not graphic just awkward. For me anyway. Graphic sexual talk is common, using strong language and graphic terms. The themes are more implied than shown, but it carries the theme from season 1. Rape is a heavy theme. Homosexuality is both implied and shown.
Consumption: Drugs are the most common theme, no spoilers for this season but last season compound V is introduced, which is a drug, and is practically the plot of the show. It’s not a narcotic however. Other than that hard drugs are snorted, smoked and injected. One of the characters is pretty much a drugs addict. Drinking is occasional too.
Extra: Again, role models are not a thing here. It can also get very upsetting at times to some viewers.
It would most likely be rated: R- Graphic violence and bloody images, sexual content, some graphic nudity and drug use and pervasive language.
Hilarious but dark and disturbing, it’s riveting and a perfect diversion of the genre, even if it’s a diversion only aimed for older teens.
This is all the stronger content but I did gloss over some spoilers or was very vague, this is more of just on average or minor description of the content throughout the series. So if your OK with this the series should be fine. If you are on your toes you should be able to skip nearly all of the sexual content, but violence and language are unskippable, especially since the show is practically about violence. I’d recommend doing a deeper dive to decide if it’s ok for your kids, but I’d advise to watch it with them and even then don’t shown it to anyone under the age of 14-16.
The show has a captivating and interesting premise, however the overwhelming intensity of violence, sex, and language ruined it. I could not make it through to the end of season 1.
The violence and gore is gruesome and disturbing.
A man's head gets caved in and you see the extremely graphic remains of his split open head in multiple shots after with brains and blood splattered on the floor. A man's face gets clawed off in detail. A young girl gets her head slammed repeatedly against a wall. Characters explode with lots of blood and guts flying and splattering everywhere.
The sex is porn equivalent in explicity; crude and frequent.
Explicit sexual acts are implied or present in every episode. The superpowers add an outlandish element to this as well. Multiple sex scenes and graphic male and female nudity.
There is pervasive foul language in pretty much every verbal exchange.
All manner of swear words and strong crude language. There would have to be near 100 swear words.. per episode.
It's overall very disturbing.
If you are okay with any of that, go ahead and give it a watch; it's got a great story.
But please, don't let your kids watch this.
In the world of The Boys, superheroes lead celebrity-style lives complete with corporate sponsorship and movie franchises of their own. When Hughie (Jack Quaid) experiences a traumatic event caused by extreme negligence on the part of A-Train, a member of the high profile supergroup The Seven, he is contacted by the mysterious Butcher and begins to learn about what superheroes are like behind closed doors. Meanwhile, Starlight (Erin Moriarity) has a similar experience when she is brought in to replace a departing member of The Seven. Her new life appears glamorous on the outside, but she quickly discovers that The Seven are driven by selfishness and corruption.
Is It Any Good?
In the 80s and 90s, comic book writers like Alan Moore and Frank Miller began to use their work to investigate some of the ethical and moral questions that the very idea of superheroes might bring up. One of the most common of those questions was about the relationship between power and corruption: if superheroes were luminaries who lived outside of society's typical behavioral norms, wouldn't that inevitably lead to some superheroes exploiting their power for something other than the greater good? It's only fitting that, ten-plus years into the MCU era, superhero movies and television would begin to ask the same questions. Garth Ennis's comic The Boys may not be as famous as Moore's Watchmen, but the series covers similar thematic ground by effectively pulling the floor out from under everything we've come to expect from superhero shows in spectacularly entertaining, if frequently shocking, fashion.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about superheroes. What do we expect from superheroes? How do we expect them to behave? How do the superheroes on The Boys behave? How is it different from what we have come to expect from superheroes?
How does The Boys blur the line between good guys and bad guys? Do characters behave in ways you might expect them to in real life if superpowers existed? What does the show think about celebrity?