Do not let the fact that True Life is an MTV program deter you from watching. This is a fantastically executed series which can be described as a cross between a documentary and a reality show. True Life is one of MTV's earlier shows, and a very successful one at that, spawning hundreds of episodes. Each episode takes a rather voyeuristic look into the lives of two to three individuals, usually in their teens or twenties, as cameras capture their odd habits, life-changing choices, and monumental moments. Many of the episodes focus on serious issues today's youth face and struggle with, such as body image, coming out, various addictions, disorders, and more. There are also light-hearted episodes such as "I'm a Comic Book Junkie" or "I'm Preparing For The End Of The World" where people's often obsessive and extreme interests, beliefs, and quirks are exposed.
However, mature content and situations tend to dominate the series. Topics related to sex and sexuality (prostitution, masturbation, porn, virginity, stripping, homosexuality and bisexuality, contraception, threesomes...) are prominent, and of course are discussed openly, frankly, in detail, or at the very least referenced heavily throughout certain episodes. No visible nudity or on-screen sexual situations though. Marriage and relationships form the storyline of a number of episodes. Sensitive topics such as religion are central to some episodes as well. Smoking, drinking, and partying appear in a few of the episodes. Curse words are minor. Expect "stupid," "hell," "damn," and "bitch." Words like "sh*t" and variations of "f*ck" are bleeped.
Parents can safely watch this show even with the younger teens to incite thoughtful discussion. I must admit, numerous episodes do contain disturbing content (ex: one about plastic surgery), but a lot of teenagers could enjoy this show, because there is a chance they could relate to it. True Life is filled with positive messages, including those of acceptance, forgiveness, education, importance of family and friends, etc.