A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
There is some discussion of a monarch's duty toward his or her country, but the message tends to get lost in the sex, drugs, and drama.
Positive Role Models
Most characters are "complicated" in a soap opera way, running the gamut from fallible to actually evil.
Violence & Scariness
Discussion of suicide, assassinations, political deaths. One character's mother died in a politically motivated killing. A man coerces a servant into giving him oral sex while she trembles and cries. A mother smacks her adult son in the face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent verbal and visual references to sex. An unwilling maid is coerced into giving a member of the royal family oral sex. Couples are shown in bed moaning and thrusting in their underwear (no private parts shown). There are references to virginity, oral sex, and masturbation as well as group sex.
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Frequent cursing: "bitch," "hell." Women are frequently referred to as "whores." Vulgar English expressions such as "fanny" and "tosser" as well as sexual language: "don't be a p---y."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many scenes take place in nightclubs and bars, with characters acting drunk and silly when imbibing. Characters smoke from bongs and trade pills; they talk about being high. A man claims he drugged a woman's drink before having sex with her.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Royals is a soap opera about the troubled members of a fictional English monarchy. The show is chockablock with things that parents won't want young teens to see: characters popping pills and smoking marijuana, group sex, and a variety of sexual assaults, such as when a royal coerces a crying maid into performing oral sex on him or a man drugs a woman's drink, has sex with her, and records the results on his phone. Cursing is frequent and often sexually tinged: "whore," "bitch," "p---y." Vulgar English expressions such as "fanny" and "tosser" also are used. One character's mother was killed in a politically motivated incident, and other members are in danger from terrorists and other miscreants.
Is It Any Good?
The Royals is the very definition of a guilty pleasure, with beautiful faux celebrities behaving badly in ways most of us would secretly like to try: swigging down a bottle of "1942-something" liquor, dancing on nightclub tables, slamming petulantly into the backs of limousines as screaming crowds wave flags and cheer. Certainly fans of the real-life English royal family, particularly those who swoon over Kate and William, can imagine The Royals as a sort of alternate history if Princess Diana hadn't been killed. Tabloid readers can smack their lips over the depraved antics, sumptuous settings, and wacky hats.
But there's a darker sensibility at work here that makes this show unsuitable for young viewers. Women are assaulted: once in a cringeworthy scene in which a prince forces oral sex on a quivering, crying woman and once in which a man proudly explains to a woman he put drugs in her drink before having group sex with her, filming it, and blackmailing her with the film. These things do happen in real life, but these plot twists are hardly good, soapy fun. Rather they're sensitive and potentially traumatizing concepts that parents will want to discuss with kids and teens most carefully. If you must allow teens to watch, be sure to watch along to counter any worrisome messages.
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.