The Mortified Guide

TV review by
Mark Dolan, Common Sense Media
The Mortified Guide TV Poster Image
Adults read their teen diaries in hilarious, explicit show.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Promotes perseverance and being yourself. Overall theme is that ultimately, you can survive your adolescent years, and one day, even look back on what seemed like the most traumatic of times with a sense of humor. May help some teenagers feel as if they aren't alone in their feelings and that kids throughout the generations have experienced similar situations and emotions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Among the more humorous stories that shine an uncomfortable spotlight on the pettiness of many adolescent problems, there are a number of brave, honest stories about overcoming different forms of adversity. 

Violence

Memories of bullying are recounted.

 

Sex

No sex is shown, but many of the journal entries deal with recounting sexual situations in uncensored detail and explicit teenage slang.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "d--k," "ass," "bitch," and every other swear word or vulgar term and possible permutation you can imagine.

 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some journal entries involve drinking.

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Mortified Guide is a show where regular people get on stage and read from their real adolescent journals. The series organizes the pieces into thematic episodes on topics such as "Love and Sex," "Fitting In," and "Family." Given that these are essentially private ramblings of teenagers, there is lots of rough language and a number of very sexually explicit descriptions. Self-aware teens may find solace in knowing that anxiety about dating and making friends is universal and that people come out OK on the other side, but the more distance you have from these events, the more you'll enjoy this series.

 

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What's the story?

Based on the series of spoken word events and the subsequent podcast created by David Nadelberg, THE MORTIFIED GUIDE is a collection of live performances where non-professionals get on stage and read from their adolescent journals. Each episode is organized around a certain theme: "Love and Sex," "Fitting In," "Family," "Growing Up Gay," and "Pop Culture." Intercut with the stage performances, we get interviews with the performers reflecting on their teen years, on how they've changed and how they survived. Most of the journal entries are painfully hilarious with a few poignant ones scattered throughout.

Is it any good?

This very simple premise -- reading your teenage diaries out loud -- yields satisfying and hilarious results. While each person's experiences are unique, every performance ultimately winds up underscoring the universality of teenage angst and drama. What's particularly entertaining about The Mortified Guide is the subtle ironies that get revealed upon rereading these adolescent confessions. They beautifully illustrate the total self-absorption and lack of self-awareness that characterizes life as an American teenager. Even those who were well-adjusted adolescents will find something to relate to here, and teens who have a sense of humor about their own lives will think these tales are pretty funny. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the value of keeping a journal. Why do you think the performers in The Mortified Guide held on to their journals for so many years?

  • What's funny about people admitting their own embarrassing experiences? Do you have a "mortifying" story that's also entertaining? 

TV details

  • Premiere date: April 8, 2018
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Variety Show
  • TV rating: TV-MA
  • Available on: Streaming

For kids who love teen memories

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