The Catalina

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Catalina TV Poster Image
Racy, alcohol-soaked reality show glorifies heavy partying.

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Kids say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

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

Positive Messages

The Catalina glamorizes the party lifestyle of carefree young adults who engage in casual sex and gratuitous drinking without consequence. The Catalina staff influences the guests to drink excessively and party so they'll enjoy themselves and spend more money. Often the staff's behavior is irresponsible, catty, and borders on unethical (drinking on the job, making out with and feeling up the guests, etc.).

Positive Role Models & Representations

The hotel staff members drink on the job, make suggestive comments toward coworkers and strangers (and allow others to do the same to them), and use their bodies to entice attention, privileges, and tips from customers. Guests are no better, hooking up with strangers and purposefully getting drunk. With few exceptions, the characters perpetuate racial and sexual stereotypes -- including a flamboyant gay man, a hard-nosed Polish immigrant, and a handful of beautiful men and women with loose morals tasked with ensuring the guests have a good time.


Couples make out and discuss sex, including past and present partners and preferences in bed. Nudity (topless women, thong bikini bottoms) is blurred, but skimpy beach attire leaves little to the imagination. The show includes examples of many different kinds of sexuality and sexual orientations. All of the hotel employees use their sexuality to appeal to guests and make big tips, including the owner, who flirts with guests and encourages promiscuity.


"Hell," "ass," "damn," "bitch," "whore," and "slut" are heard, as well as references to body parts like "balls," "penis," and "boobs." Only "f--k" is bleeped and blurred.


Each episode plays like an hour-long commercial for the party atmosphere of The Catalina.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Everyone drinks, from the hotel owner who downs champagne with guests to the bar staff who match shots for big tips. Alcohol is part of the lifestyle, and intoxication is a goal rather than an accidental byproduct of overindulgence.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Catalina is a risqué reality series that makes light of young adults behaving badly at a Miami party hotel. Guests and staff members engage in excessive drinking, casual sex (it's not shown, but there's plenty of talk about it and a lot of making out onscreen, between both opposite-sex and same-sex couples), offensive remarks (usually directed at women's body parts, although the ladies rarely mind the attention), and swearing ("f--k" is edited, but everything else flies). Staff members brag about using their sex appeal to entice sales and tips (and some are very open about their wide-ranging sexual appetites), and alcohol plays an essential role in partygoers' enjoyment of the goings-on. The show offers nothing in the way of positive behavioral models for teens.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byTeenc October 28, 2012


This is just awful. There's some nudity, bleeped language and too much drinking! DO NOT WATCH!

What's the story?

THE CATALINA is a reality series that follows the staff of Miami's South Beach hotspot, The Catalina Hotel. The show trails employees as they prep for special events, fill guests' unusual requests, and try to stay ahead of the competition in this popular vacation destination. Headed up by hotel owner Nathan and general manager Stephanie, staff members mix work and play in this notorious party venue.

Is it any good?

On a scale of unpalatable voyeuristic reality TV, The Catalina ranks about a hair's width above Jersey Shore, and that's only because the demeaning stereotypes aren't quite as pronounced among the Floridians as they are among Jersey's famed guidos. Plenty still exist, from flamboyantly gay Eyal to the hunky pool boys who troll for girls while they're on the clock, but the cast and their lifestyles are so ridiculous that it's hard to take anything about the content seriously.

Of course, seeing The Catalina from a teen's viewpoint gives it an entirely different and far more disturbing perspective. While a full-grown adult is likely able to look disparagingly on the behavior of these twentysomethings because of their age, teens could be looking up to them as role models, and none of the cast's sexy, intoxicated, irresponsible actions paint this partying lifestyle in a positive light.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about stereotypes. Is it ever OK to laugh at stereotypes? Is the effect different when it's done in a comedy format rather than in reality?

  • Teens: Do you think reality shows like The Catalina ever tell the whole story behind the characters' actions? What purpose do they serve? Are they harmful? If so, to whom?

  • How does the media reflect society's changing tolerance of things like sexuality, drinking, and violence? Does the media always follow these changes, or does it play a role in influencing them?

TV details

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