The Hard Times of RJ Berger TV Poster Image

The Hard Times of RJ Berger

Bawdy series centers on a teen with a plus-sized "package."
Popular with kids
  • Network: MTV
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2010

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

Premiere date:June 6, 2010
Cast:Jareb Dauplaise, Kara Taitz, Paul Iacono
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of The Hard Times of RJ Berger was written by

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Teen, 14 years old Written byRawrIsDinoTalkF... May 11, 2011

Woah Woah Woah, Back It Up

i love this show. I've loved it since season one. It was so halarious i met a guy because we started talking about tv shows and i happened to mention the hard times of rj berger. And thats what we had in common. its awkward if your parents are in the same room but my dads girlfriends daughter came in their and was like ooh whats this your watching and all kinds of questions then said welp i have to go i have other things to watch like the last song because its better than this junk.
Kid, 10 years old July 5, 2010

good messages, but some sexual content and bad language.

RJ is a nerdy freshman who stands up for who he is. This is a classic- nerd vs. jock. The high school jocks do make some sexual jokes and they do curse a bit, but this is still a great show for 13+.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old July 2, 2011

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