What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Underemployed glorifies the sexiness of life as a young adult struggling to make ends meet in a recession-plagued economy. Despite holding down service-oriented jobs that belie their college educations, the characters dress, live, and entertain very well, which pays little respect to the characters' real-world counterparts struggling to pay student loans with paychecks far below their potential. Expect a fair amount of language ("bitch," "ass," "hell") and some drinking, plus mature themes like unplanned pregnancy and the use of sex as a tool in the workplace. Some bedroom content is graphic (orgasm sounds, the implication of oral sex, etc.), and a main character explores homosexuality. That said, the characters themselves are a quirky but engaging bunch, and viewed strictly from an entertainment standpoint, the show offers some laughs and touching moments, but ultimately little reflection of reality.
What's the story?
UNDEREMPLOYED is a dramedy that explores the successes and pitfalls of the inaugural post-grad year as seen from the point of view of five college friends reconnecting on the first anniversary of college graduation. There's Sofia (Michelle Ang), an aspiring novelist who serves donuts during the day; Daphne (Sarah Habel), a gorgeous ad agency intern trying to work her way into a paying gig; Raviva (Inbar Lavi), a hopeful musician with an unexpected baby on the way; Lou (Jared Kusnitz), her former boyfriend and the baby's father who wants to do the right thing; and Miles (Diego Boneta), a model/actor who pays the bills by serving drinks and stripping.
Is it any good?
Set to the backdrop of a metropolis and narrated by writer-type Sofia, the show borrows many of its style elements from predecessors like Sex and the City and Friends, making the comedy feel trite and predictable. What's more, it moves so fast through its unremarkable plot (unplanned pregnancy and birth, sleeping with the boss for a promotion, a virgin's sexual explorations, all in the pilot episode?) that it leaves little new ground to cover in the future, essentially burying itself in its own haste.
Underemployed does have one very important factor going for it in its very likable cast, though. With such diversity of personalities, it's easy to get caught up in the struggles of one or more of the characters, and their plight sets out to reflect the very real economic troubles that plague today's college grads. That said, these supposed minimum-wagers manage to live in some pretty nice digs and have little trouble buying diapers or hosting dinner parties, so there's a pretty large element of fantasy to their situations as well. The bottom line? This series doesn't break any new ground, and it actually does more to romanticize the "starving artist" scenario than it does to give a realistic look at it, so it offers little more than cheap laughs and sexy lifestyles to teens.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about this show's themes. What is the show trying to say about the characters' situations? Is the message a positive one? In what ways do you think it resembles the struggles of young adults in today's economy?
Teens: How important is friendship in your life? How do your friends support you in tough times? Do these relationships ever substitute for family?
What messages does this series send about sex? How do the different characters view sex differently? What are some of the possible repercussions of sexual relationships that go bad?