The L.A. Complex

 
(i)

 

Soapy Canadian drama has worthy themes for older teens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Themes include perseverance, chasing your dreams, and positive self-image (though, predictably, all of the characters are attractive and camera-ready at all times). The competitive nature of the business encourages backbiting and malicious intentions, but they're tempered by instances of kindness and mentoring that show the characters' softer side.

Positive role models

Diversity abounds among the characters, who hail from different ethnicities and socioeconomic classes. Their value systems vary, and some cross moral lines (lying, misrepresenting themselves, selling their sex appeal to pay the bills) that others wouldn't. Many also engage in some risky behavior like one-night stands and drug use. That said, they're willing to put it all on the line for their dreams, even if that means working below their abilities to fund the training process. Some use their experience to mentor newcomers, although the process sometimes serves their own interests as well.

Violence

Some fistfights that draw blood, but they're rare. One character burns himself as a way to deal with his emotions.

Sex

Casual sex is common among the young adult characters, both straight and gay. Couples make out and undress each other (though nothing beyond women in bras or their naked backs is shown), and it's implied that intercourse follows. The show doesn't shy away from realistic consequences; in one case, a couple buys the morning-after pill because they didn't use birth control. Some female characters wear lingerie to dance in a strip club. The set-up for making a sex tape is shown.

Language

"Bitch," "hell," "ass," "dammit," and "piss" are heard frequently. Rare stronger words, like "t-ts," are bleeped.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Partying, drinking, and, to a lesser extent, drug use are popular ways to pass the time among these twentysomethings. Beer, wine, mixed drinks, etc. are consumed in large quantities, and some characters are shown taking pills.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The L.A. Complex is a soapy drama series about a group of beautiful young adults living together in an apartment complex, so not surprisingly, there's some sleeping around, partying, drinking, and recreational drug use in the mix. Salty language is also a concern, with "bitch," "damn," "ass," "hell," and the like often part of casual conversation. Expect some partial nudity (women in bras and underwear or shown from behind with naked torsos) and implied sex -- both straight and gay, as well as a lot of suggestive dancing from scantily clad entertainers in a strip club, where one of the main characters works. On the up side, the show boasts a diverse cast whose experiences raise some discussion-worthy points about morality, integrity, and self-esteem, among other issues.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Sunny Los Angeles entices young dreamers with hopes of making it big, but most get a harsh dose of reality after they arrive in Tinseltown. For one group of would-be stars, the support they've found among their new neighbors at "The Lux" is often the final spark keeping their dreams alive ... when they're not vying for the same roles, that is. There's Raquel (Jewel Staite), a one-hit TV wonder who fears her star may have already fallen; Alicia (Chelan Simmons), a talented dancer who's willing to do anything to see her name in lights; Abby (Cassie Steele), an illegal immigrant who teeters on the brink of throwing in the towel and going home; Tariq (Benjamin Charles Watson), a hip-hop artist trying to make a name for himself; and Connor (Jonathan Patrick Moore), whose chiseled good looks landed him a leading role in his first series. Brought together by shared dreams and a shortage of money, these hopefuls grapple with the ups and downs of life as well as showbiz.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Part Fame, part Melrose Place, THE L.A. COMPLEXmakes even the life of a starving actor look glamorous, sexy, and all kinds of fun. There's no shortage of ways to fill the void when you're surrounded by beautiful, vivacious neighbors in need of similar attention. And when sex isn't in the cards, there's always a party within reach to help nurse the wounds of bad auditions or lousy bosses. That's not to say that everything's roses among these neighbors. There's plenty of competition, jealousy, and scandal, plus some mysterious motivations and back stories for many among the diverse cast.

Lest it be judged on these qualities alone, however, keep in mind that The L.A. Complex does a good job of keeping these twentysomethings real enough that viewers can still relate to both the dilemmas in their personal lives and their quest for professional ones. All of the characters -- even those who've found success -- struggle with moral boundaries, relationship woes, and self-image issues, and there are some positive teaching moments mixed into the well-written content. The bottom line? The show's steaminess and language require a discerning parental eye, but if your older teen can handle it, there's more to this Canadian drama series than just some run-of-the-mill bedroom scenes and salacious behavior.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about friendship. To what degree do friends substitute for family as you get older? Are there issues you discuss with your friends that you wouldn't with your family? Do friends always have your best interests at heart?

  • Teens: What is The L.A. Complex's message about taking risks? What consequences do the characters face from the decisions they make? What factors affect your decisions about which dreams you chase?

  • Does this series do a good job of incorporating diversity into its characters and the issues they face? Is it always important to reflect society's make-up in the media? How does diversity influence how this show deals with issues like self-image?

TV details

Cast:Chelan Simmons, Jewel Staite, Jonathan Patrick Moore
Network:CW
Genre:Drama
Topics:Friendship
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of The L.A. Complex was written by

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Quality

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Teen, 14 years old Written by101Review August 5, 2012
 

Good, some good role models.

I watch all the episodes of this show and LOVE IT!! Though there is a lot of sex but there's only been one episode were it shows the girls breast. There's at least two sex scene in every episode, some of the relationships some people may not agree with such as gay relationships. (Though no sex scene of the two.) Just them lying next to eachother. There is some violence and people hurting themselves and mild language. There is two good role models, a female pole dancer who is actually very sweet and kind to her friends. A young runnaway girl and her 10 year old brother are both good characters. I just don't like two of the characters, one hurts himself constantly and uses sex to mostly try and help. An actor who will do anything to get a role and even sleep with a much older guy than her and then later gets pregnant.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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