The Real Housewives of Orange County

Common Sense Media says

Part trash, part social study. Iffy for teens.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Wealth, physical beauty, prestige, and power are the main themes of the show. Family and hard work are also themes (even though they often get lost in the shuffle).

Positive role models

The cast places great importance material wealth, looking perfect, and maintaining an image.

Violence

Rabbit hunting with guns, but no blood.

Sex

Provocative clothing, women in underwear and tiny bathing suits, sexy dancing, talk of "getting some."

Language

Some minor cursing, like "hell" and "damn." Stronger language is rare and bleeped.

Consumerism

Luxury brands are everywhere -- Mercedes, BMW, Louis Vuitton, etc.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lots of drinking. Jo is clearly alcohol dependent. On a Mexican vacation, parents do shots with their teens. One child discusses his use of drugs in a remorseful way -- he eventually goes to juvenile hall.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series follows the lives of insanely rich people who place immense value on physical beauty and material possessions. While the show focuses on a group of adult women who have breast implants, get Botox shots, and pose for Playboy, we also see teens who spend thousands of dollars on school shopping, get new luxury vehicles at the drop of a hat, and shoot rabbits for fun. But beneath the superficial lives are real people who struggle with childrearing, self-esteem, and finding purpose.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Capitalizing on the nation's fascination with reality shows and California decadence -- as portrayed on The O.C. and Desperate Housewives -- Bravo has created THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY, a captivating reality series about the lives of five women who live with their families in an exclusive gated community in Southern California. The five women aren't all housewives in the strictest sense of the word (some work outside the home), but they do rule their homes and manage the lives of their children, all while surrounded by stratospheric wealth. Cameras follow the women and their family members throughout most of their daily life, with occasional one-on-one interviews interspersed with the day-to-day action.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Real Housewives of Orange County is a mix of voyeuristic trash and compelling sociological study. Watching these women live lifestyles that many would envy, viewers see both the superficiality of their experience and their shared humanity. Watching the show could be a sobering experience for teens who think that money really could buy happiness.

Kim is the proto-typical soccer mom with an executive husband who works for a Fortune 200 company. She shuttles her two kids to their various activities while wearing designer clothes that show off her hard-earned slender figure and her generous bust (thanks, breast implants!). Jeana is a successful real estate agent with three children. She's married to a former major league baseball player, and her two sons are expected to follow in their father's footsteps. Jo is the youngest of the group at 24. She's engaged to a wealthy executive who tries to control her youthful proclivities and corral her into playing stepmom to his children. The other two women, Vicki and Lauri, are equally compelling and repulsive.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about a variety of different issues. What's appealing about the lifestyles portrayed in the series? What's missing from these people's lives? What kinds of experiences and challenges do the rich share with the rest of us? What would be the hardest part about living like these people? The easiest? If you could pick one thing in their lives to have in your own, what would it be? Sometimes cast members discuss their lives before they came to Orange County -- what do their stories reveal about them and how their newfound culture has changed them?

TV details

Network:Bravo
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Real Housewives of Orange County was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byddue2be April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Its an entertaining teen show.

It definatly has some real world subjects, a good show for kids 12+ but absolutely not under 10.
Adult Written byIhavealotofcomm... September 23, 2009
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

TV teaches your ki

If you want your kids to act like theyre 13 for the rest of their lives and think that being "super rich, and fake" is the greatest thing in the world, this is the show to watch!! Because we dont have enough plastic surgery freaks, or narcissistic bimbos walking aroung. So please let your kids watch and maybe someday (cross your fingers) they'll turn out just like them! yayyy!!
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bychristine3 August 22, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

From the ridiculous to the sublime.........

I am resident in the UK and this series runs at present prior to Judge Judy. a case of from the ridiculous to the sublime in my humble opinion. I catch parts of the programmes whilst awaiting the witticisms, pithiness and intelligence of J.J. At first I felt HOOC must be some kind of sick joke - but no ! they are real people. And to me they seem incredibly sad and unhappy losers despite their vast wealth. No I am not jealous ! I would not swap with them, I have peace of mind and I am a good neighbour and true friend to all in my small village community in England. Thank God there are women like the peerless Judge Judy Sheindlin to give the young of America a true example of how life can be lived if one uses one's brain.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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