Turn Up Charlie

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Turn Up Charlie TV Poster Image
Extra-lovable actors make a clichéd storyline funny, sweet.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Messages of empathy and compassion are clear. Characters care about each other, listen to each other, try to help each other whenever they can, quite often succeeding. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cast is diverse in age, race, gender, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic status, religion. Charlie is a kindhearted man who occasionally tries to get privileges by knowing people; ultimately he gets what he deserves, as do other fallible characters on-screen: distracted Sara and David (who love their daughter but are often too busy to show her), miserable Gabrielle, goofy Del. 


Comic references to violence, like when a girl lights a kitchen torch while threatening to make her nanny's life difficult. A man says when he was naughty as a boy he got "a good beating" as punishment. 


Characters are single and interested in romance. In one scene, a woman gives Charlie a flirtatious look at a wedding and the next scene has them kissing feverishly in bed and removing clothing (although they are interrupted before they get to sex, and no private parts are visible). Jokes may have a sexual edge, like when a child playfully takes something from her sitter and it turns out to be a purple vibrator, on and buzzing. 


Language and cursing includes "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch" as well as sillier words like "poo" and "pee."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several characters pass around a joint. Adults drink liquor and go to bars; no one acts drunk 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Turn Up Charlie is about a former music star who sees a chance to regain his fame when he’s hired as a nanny for the troubled child of celebrity parents. Violence is light and comic: A girl lights a kitchen torch before threatening to mistreat nanny Charlie; a man says when he was young he was punished with "a good beating" when he was naughty. Expect jokes about and references to sex as well as on-screen romance, like when Charlie and a woman go home together from a wedding and kiss in bed while removing their clothes. In another scene, a girl steals a vibrator from her nanny and it buzzes on a tabletop. Language and cursing includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," etc. Characters pass around joints in several scenes and talk about being high, they also visit pubs to eat and drink, though no one acts drunk. Messages of empathy and compassion are clear, and the cast exhibits strong diversity, with a main character of color and many friends who vary in age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and more. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJoseph G March 31, 2019

Upchuck Charlie

I really don't think this production is suitable for intelligent people of any age. Where shall I start? How about a few minutes into the first episode whe... Continue reading
Adult Written bymomo4 April 11, 2019


The woman falls in love with Charlie, and her fiance calls her out on it. Her response? To hit her fiance.

While some may believe violence against others is... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

The titular TURN UP CHARLIE (Idris Elba) was famous once, his album at the top of the charts, his DJ grooves sought everywhere. But that was a long time ago, and now Charlie's scratching out a meager living, unable to afford to move out of his parents' house, where he lives with his aunt Lydia (Jocelyn Jee Esien). But when his childhood friend David (JJ Feild), now a huge movie star, moves back into town with his marquee DJ wife, Sara (Piper Perabo), and the couple needs a nanny for their daughter, Gabrielle (Frankie Hervey), Charlie sees a chance to work his way back into the big time. The only trouble? Gabrielle is big trouble. And Charlie has no idea what he's in for. 

Is it any good?

This warm and easygoing comedy isn't going anywhere surprising, but the characters who inhabit its world are so lovable that you'll delight in spending time with them anyway. Young children are, of course, frequently a tool of redemption in lighthearted narratives like this one, where kids who are less often real people and more often agents of chaos teach Important Life Lessons to the adults who need them. In this regard, Gabrielle is a textbook example of the cinematic brat, delighting in getting her nannies fired one by one. When Charlie becomes the latest to take on the job, she lights a butane kitchen torch and muses, "Now where should I start?" 

But this miniature wild child isn't just acting out from pure meanness -- of course, her anger emerges from deep sadness as her busy celebrity parents can't find time to spend with her. That's where Charlie comes in. Oozing with sincerity and kindness, he's quickly swept up in Gabs' plight, despite being distracted by his own career and personal failings. As you've probably guessed, each of these unhappy characters has good times in store, and each gets the ultimate reward they deserve. The magic of Turn Up Charlie is that the sweetness somehow never turns into treacle. It could be sickening. It's not. Binge on, lovers of lovable TV. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Turn Up Charlie's plotline of "child teaches adults life lessons" is a popular one. Do you think kids have a kind of wisdom that adults don't?

  • Families can also talk about how Gabrielle acts in this show and why. Why does she do the things she does? Why isn't she punished? What would happen if you talked to adults like Gabrielle does, or you did some of the things she does? Are her actions heightened for comic or dramatic effect? Are they realistic? 

  • How do the characters in Turn Up Charlie demonstrate compassion and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate