Tiny Pretty Things

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Tiny Pretty Things TV Poster Image
Book-based dance drama has sex, violence, bullying.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 24 reviews

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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.

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Plays up drama of teens' lives, making everything look much more exciting, sexy, beautiful, mysterious than it is in real life. Bullying and competition are central to plot, with dancers competing endlessly: who's the thinnest, who gets the most attention in class, who gets the best roles. Characters are constantly chided about weight: too thin, not thin enough. Dance world emerges as cutting and cruel, dangerous for people who make a living in it, on many different levels. 

Positive Role Models

Characters are diverse in terms of race and ethnicity, including Black lead character who is a talented ballerina. But characters are extremely cutting and cruel to each other, including the lead, who's framed as hero. Dancers say terrible things to, scheme against, and bully each other to point where some dancers self-harm. Authority figures, too, are vicious, unsupportive. 

Violence

Mothers and other female authority figures chastise female dancers to eat or not eat; dancers exhibit eating disorders. A suspicious death begins the series, as a dancer does a routine on the edge of a four-story building then falls/is pushed. We see her hit the ground (no blood, until later when we see faint stain on sidewalk). A character in a dream tightens a vise on her foot until it bleeds and looks like it cracks. A character vomits on the toilet, then writes "BAD" in a food diary in scene referring to eating disorder. A dancer loses a toenail, cries as she bandages her foot. 

Sex

Sexual imagery is strong and frequent: Characters take off their clothes; bare buttocks are visible, characters nude seen from side or back. A boy and girl get into bed together; he moves his head down as she sighs and giggles, clearly receiving oral sex. A minute later, a joke makes a double entendre about "someone coming." Two roommates roll around together nude and one dips his head; camera stays on face of the other, receiving oral sex. Lots of talk about love and boyfriends and girlfriends; dancers wear very brief and revealing gear onstage and off. 

Language

Cursing includes "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "tits," "hell," "ass." Dancers are competitive and insulting with each other; characters call each other things like "trash" and "petit rat." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink at parties and sometimes act sloppy and aggressive. 

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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byimwalshraiedeh December 17, 2020

Not appropriate for teens

I'm 29 year, and I was very surprised when I realized that this is categorized as a teen show for 16+ at least in America when legal sex age is 18. I still... Continue reading
Adult Written byPlannah December 24, 2020

Shocked the NL age rating is 14!

Watched with my 15 year old and even she was surprised how graphic and explicit this is ... definitely too much for kids. Teens having sex in a nightclub, the... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byitzlinda004 December 16, 2020

great suspense

other than the excessive nudity it has a strong plot line and the action is at best medium it lacks representation really there's only 3 black people and 3... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byLoranikas303 December 16, 2020

Tiny Trashy Things!

This show is so so so trash! Sexual imagery is strong and frequent: characters take off their clothes and bare buttocks are visible as we see characters nude fr... Continue reading

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? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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