A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tiny Pretty Things is a series about a prestigious ballet school and the young dancers who study there. Mature content is frequent, including self-harm and many references to eating disorders: Dancers have their eating and bodies monitored and are criticized for being too thin or not thin enough. Other violent content includes a scene in which a dancer does a routine along the edge of a building; soon afterward, she slips or is pushed off the building. We see her hit the ground but only see blood in a faint stain later. Sexual content is frequent and mature; we see characters nude from the back and side and heads dipping below the camera frame to perform oral sex. Expect same- and opposite-sex kissing, dating, sex, and lots of dancers in brief, tight costumes. Cursing includes "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "damn," "tits," "hell," and "ass." Characters, including teens, drink at parties and act sloppy and aggressive. Authority figures are viciously critical, as are fellow dancers; bullying is frequent. The lead character of this drama is a Black ballet student, and the rest of the dancers are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and religion.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When a ballet student makes a fatal misstep and plunges off the top of a four-story building, Neveah Stroyer (Kylie Jefferson) gets a call: There's a space for her at Chicago's prestigious Archer Ballet School. Brilliantly talented Neveah is elated to get a chance to shoot her shot, but before she has finished her first day, she has made enemies, like Bette Whitlaw (Casimere Jollette), who was the undisputed leader at the school -- until Neveah walked in. Neveah doesn't have the right clothes, the right background, or the right training, but she does have at least one friend, loyal Shane (Brennan Clost), who's willing to show her the ropes -- even if he can't save her from the forces that conspire to bring Neveah down for good.
Is it any good?
The world of dance is deeply dramatic, and fairly ridiculous, in this overstuffed series simply heaving with dance drama clichés. The new girl everybody can't stop talking about, the threatened queen bee, the sadistic teachers, the tortured prima ballerina: There's all this and more. So much more. Of course, fans of dance stories look forward to some of the genre's clichés. What would a ballet story be without the competition between dancers and a big scandal everyone's whispering about backstage? The problem isn't that the tropes are there, it's that they're not done well, and Tiny Pretty Things feels shopworn instead of like a guilty pleasure.
The problems start with the writing, especially the overwrought dialogue. People don't talk this way, so, writers: Don't write them this way. And if you're thinking that said diva is being set up so that series lead Neveah can become the Next Amazing Thing that will threaten and perhaps even topple said diva's reign, well, you've probably watched a few dance dramas yourself, and can pretty much predict what's going to happen next at every twist and turn. If that doesn't turn you off, then maybe Tiny Pretty Things won't either.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about bullying. What instances of bullying exist in Tiny Pretty Things? Who bullies whom? What different forms can bullying take? Is any one form more or less harmful than another?
How does this drama compare to others you've seen about dancing and the dance world? What kinds of stereotypes does this show reinforce or challenge? Were you surprised at the levels of sexual content or the other mature content, including references to eating disorders and self-harm?
The cast of Tiny Pretty Things has some diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, and nationality, but not in body type, which forms a major subplot on this series. Must dancers always have a certain body type? Why? What harm does this requirement cause to the dancers in this show? In real life?
Our editors recommend
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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