Parents' Guide to

The Letter

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Reality series lets friends give advice anonymously.

The Letter Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

Riveting and emotional, this show pushes change and redemption, but the assumption that "tough love" is always positive may be hard for some to swallow. It's difficult to listen to (and definitely even more difficult for the participants to read) things like "you are the definition of a small-town bumpkin" and "you're the laziest person I've ever met." It's even harder to watch long-time friends argue over long-held grudges. Participants sometimes devolve into shouting and tears; they hug at the end, but it's hard to shake the notion that these women are shaken in ways both positive and negative. Yes, they may have tried and learned new things during the course of the show, but it's clear that they're often terribly wounded by what they've read, and that friendships are damaged.

Given that, it's hard not to view this show as exploitative, though it's reaching for redemptive. The Letter congratulates on fomenting change and growth, but at what cost? Teen viewers will likely be interested to watch; parents may want to watch too, at least at first, to point out that writing a friend an anonymous letter is a risky way to ask her for changes or point out her faults -- and that anonymous letters in general are looked down on by most people, for very good reasons.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: October 11, 2016
  • Network: Freeform
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-G
  • Last updated: October 13, 2022

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