A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Themes of trying new things even when they're scary or new; confidence; accepting yourself as you are. Dancing sensually is presented as a positive way of owning your own sexuality rather than trying to attract a partner, but of course it's serving both purposes simultaneously.
Positive Role Models
Many contestants are not trained dancers; they model trying something outside of their comfort zones and embracing the challenge. They also discuss overcoming obstacles in their personal lives.
Contestants are diverse across attributes like race, sexual orientation, age, and body size; they explicitly discuss their various identities. People with different backgrounds are paired as dance partners. Some counter-stereotypical behavior with a masculine football player learning how to dance, and there being a fairly equal emphasis on women and men using dance to express their sexuality.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Minimal actual sexual behavior (aside from kisses that are part of dance choreography), but a strong emphasis on being "sexy" and having "sensuality." Lots of dance moves that are not explicit, but are certainly very suggestive. Repeated discussion about people and dance moves being "hot," dancers "having chemistry," and contestants being attractive. Clingy costumes that show off torsos, midriffs, and legs. A mixed message theme of acting sensually while dancing, but presented as a way of owning your own sensuality rather than trying to attract a partner. Male and female contestants are discussed equally in terms of being attractive and the way they dance.
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Language like "ass," "hell," "buns," "butt" not used in a hostile way. Lots of sexual language including "sexy," "hot," "dirty," "sensual," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Verbal mentions of various media franchises and brands.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Real Dirty Dancing is a reality competition show in which celebrities recreate dance scenes from the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing. As in the original movie, there's a lot of bumping and grinding dance moves, but nothing that's explicit. There's a lot of discussion of how men and women can act and dance in a "sexy" way, own their sensuality, and be "hot." It's framed as self-empowerment rather than dance being used to attract a partner, but parents who are uncomfortable with these topics being explicitly modeled and discussed will want to skip this one. There's some language like "ass" and "hell" not used in a hostile way. The original movie is discussed and shown at length, so kids may be inspired to watch Dirty Dancing if they've never seen it before. If parents are OK with the suggestive themes, the show does model positive themes of trying something new and building self-confidence.
Is It Any Good?
This dance competition show is like a highly specific Dancing with the Stars, where all of the performances are Dirty Dancing themed. The B-list celebrity contestants on The Real Dirty Dancing have varying levels of dance experience, so the performances are sometimes more personality-driven than skill-driven. That said, the show is surprisingly entertaining, at least for adults who have watched the original movie and who recognize the celebrity contestants. Teens will likely find the whole show less relevant without that personal connection, but theater- and dance-loving teens may still enjoy it.The Real Dirty Dancing is surprisingly heartwarming for a show that is ultimately about convincingly performing suggestive dance moves. Contestants are putting themselves outside of their comfort zones, and it's hard not to root for them. For teens mature enough to handle the theme of exploring sensuality and sexuality through dance, it could be fun to watch alongside their nostalgic grown-ups.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.