The Hard Times of RJ Berger

Bawdy series centers on a teen with a plus-sized "package."

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most relationships between adults and teens are dysfunctional in some way, and there's an overarching message that suggests having sizable genitalia will make you more popular.

Positive role models

RJ seems like a good guy at heart, but even he's not above standing up to a bully by sticking his hand down his own pants and rubbing his finger across the guy's face, declaring, "That's how a man smells, bitch." Most of the other teen characters are even less positive, and adult characters are seriously flawed.


Some low-level bullying plus an occasional punch or fistfight, played for laughs.


Persistent crass talk and hypercharged sexual innuendo, including a girl's offer of "Any time, any place, any orifice." No nudity, but implied sexual acts (masturbation and oral sex) between teenage characters. Audible terms like "t-ts," "nuts," "boner," "vagina" and "donkey d--k."


A steady stream of audible terms like "asshole," "bitch," "Goddammit," and "bastard," peppered with some bleeped swearing ("f--k," "s--t," "c--k," etc.).

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There's a reference to "bong rips," and some underage drinking takes place at unsupervised parties with no real negative consequences. Some teens drink to the point of throwing up, etc. Adults occasionally overindulge in front of kids too.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this witty but wild series deliberately pushes the boundaries of TV acceptability when it comes to teen sexuality. It's the kind of show that follows in the spirit of many R-rated movies like Superbad or Knocked Up -- shows that are geared to adults, but watched by teens anyway.  Like those movies, this series is full of outrageous content that is sure to appeal to teen humor, but that parents may find hard to take. It's really in-your-face comedy full of sex, drinking, and teen sexual obsession. There's no nudity, although the series pilot opens with the lead character furiously masturbating under his covers, and there are regular animated sequences that play out his innermost thoughts and fantasies. Characters also make raucous, sexually charged statements like, "I'm soaked" (said by a girl who's sexually aroused). Equally edgy scenes show teens drinking underage without negative consequences, and teen dialogue with bleeped swearing ("f--k," "s--t," "c--k," etc.) and liberal use of phrases like "donkey d--k," "nip slips," and "nut musk." 

What's the story?

In THE HARD TIMES OF RJ BERGER, the titular RJ (Paul Iacono) doesn't have much clout in the halls of Pinkerton High School. That is, until he drops his shorts in front of the entire student body and sheds light on his best-kept secret: his extra-large penis. It doesn't take long for RJ's peers to start looking at him differently, and for his best friend Miles (Jareb Dauplaise) to start plotting their road to popularity. But RJ's more interested in his budding friendship with school hottie Jenny Swanson (Amber Lancaster) -- and fending off his platonic friend Lily's (Kara Taitz) aggressive sexual advances.

Is it any good?


With the scripted series Hard Times, MTV is offering an antidote to its bloated menu of reality programming, and that's part of the reason it feels so fresh and funny. The other part is the whip-smart writing, with laugh-out-loud one-liners reminiscent of big-screen comedies like Superbad and American Pie. The difference here, of course, is that it's on the small screen -- and far more accessible to younger viewers, which begs the question: Is cable ready for so much raunch?

Execs behind the series insist episodes won't be "penis-driven," but that remains to be seen. Since it's set in high school, the show is clearly aimed at teens and older, though younger kids might want to watch too. The catch with Hard Times, then, is how parents will feel about its penchant for pushing the envelope when it comes to sexual content on TV. And chances are, based on what we've seen so far, they won't feel good.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how accurately your teens think this series portrays their sexual attitudes and emotions. Does the show get it just about right, or does it exaggerate fantasies and insecurities?

  • What's the show's target audience? How can you tell? Do you think the series will appeal to one gender more than the other?

  • Do you see any negative stereotypes being played out in particular characters?

  • Families might try and discuss why it is that parents don't find the same things funny that kids do when it comes to sex. Without being wet blanket, try to explain to your teens what concerns you in relationships portrayed.

TV details

Cast:Jareb Dauplaise, Kara Taitz, Paul Iacono
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

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Kid, 12 years old July 2, 2011
age 12+

Better then brain rotting disney

i really like this show, im 12. most parents really shouldn't be concerned because most of u don't even really know your own children. everyone at my school has know about sex and all the diseases that come with it since 4th grade. u might think that this show it bad for ur kids but its one of the most honest shows out there. disney acts like its the best thing for ur kids but look at the monstrosities its produced. Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus yeah, those are great role models. id rather watch a scrawny white kid get beat up any day then watch witches in ny or whatever that crap is called and FEEL my brain cell rot. kids are a lot for mature then u grant them.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bythesheep June 25, 2011
age 14+

good but need to have your child understand the difference between real life and TV

i think this show is good if your TEENAGER fully understand what there doing there and to test just have them tell you what they did and the difference between that and real life. In a summary, as long as your child is mature and understands sarcasm and other things young pre-teens and young children have a hard time figuring out and that this is not something you should strive for but to laugh at and see what years of high school stereotypes really say about high school
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written by11michelle47 May 31, 2011
age 14+

Awesome teen entertainment Not recomended for children and early teens (:

I personaly love the show and like to watch it all the time.Behind the main humor its about two exiled teens who relize their biggest dreams by moving up the popularity ladder. while i can see younger children shouldnt watch it i believe it is fine for 15 and up because we already know about many themes in it but MTV is an edgy show and one of the few that have guts to play this.overall i love it and it is definatly geared to the older audiances
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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