A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
A strict religious community is humanized; we understand why Esty's community has the customs it does, as well as why she'd want to leave. Themes of courage and integrity are visible in storylines about people working hard to find a life that will make them happy, whether or not that suits tradition.
Positive Role Models
Characters are painfully real and complicated; all have good intentions, which sometimes still have terrible effects on others. Esty is courageous and hard-working; at first trying with all her might to conform to her community's expectations and then leaving them behind entirely in an effort to gain a happier and more authentic life. Yanky is no villain, either; he attempts to learn what will make his wife happy, and acts as he's been taught a good husband does. Esty's family members and in-laws all have their own agendas but none are selfish or intentionally cruel, though they sometimes make her intensely unhappy.
Violence & Scariness
Scenes in which Yanky and Etsy attempt to have sex while Etsy writhes and shrieks in pain due to her vaginismus are hard to watch, yet the viewer understands that both are motivated to have sex, no one is being coerced (though you could call Etsy's background in which she's taught to submit to her husband and make as many babies as possible a type of coercion, depending on your viewpoint). Yanky's cousin Moishe has a few moments in which he seems to threaten Etsy's mother and he has a gun, but there are no physical altercations. A woman is given a gun in case she ever wants to die by suicide.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Many of Esty's problems with her marriage are sexual, see "Violence" section for more information. Esty is given formal instruction on how to be a "proper" wife, which include the information that sexually, "the man is the giver, the woman is the receiver" so "he must be on top." Esty is also told about her body (she believes she doesn't have "a hole for sex"), and about ritual cleansing and other customers that her culture tells her is important during and after her period. There is also passionate kissing, same- and opposite-sex, and a scene in which two men go to a brothel. A sex worker offers to do whatever a man likes. A woman's nude breasts are visible in a scene in which she takes a ritual bath. A man is briefly visible fully nude, front and back.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language is a mix of Yiddish and English; no cursing, but at one point a woman uses the word "boobs."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Moishe constantly smokes cigarettes; characters drink wine at dinner parties and ceremonies and one character seems drunk and falls down during a ritual dance.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Unorthodox is a drama about a young woman who leaves her marriage and her Hasidic community in Brooklyn to move to Berlin and make a new life for herself. The Hasidic community is not demonized, nor are its members; audience members understand why their customs are so strict and so counter to typical American traditions, even though they ultimately make Esty's life unhappy. Much of the dialogue is in Yiddish, with some English and German. Many of Esty's problems with her marriage are sexual; there are many uncomfortable scenes of her and her husband attempting to have sex as she grimaces and cries with pain. There are also scenes of her instructions about being a good wife in the sexual sense, and how to ritually clean herself after her period each month. Men visit a brothel and a sex worker strips down to her bra and offers various sex acts. Same- and opposite-sex characters kiss passionately. A woman is visible nude during a ritual bath (we see her breasts) and a man is briefly seen nude from a distance before skinny dipping in a river. A character gives a gun to another, telling her she can use it to kill herself later if she wants to. Adults drink wine at dinner and at ceremonies; one character has a drinking problem and acts oddly, including a scene in which he falls down during a wedding dance. One character smokes cigarettes frequently. Themes of courage and integrity are painfully visible, as characters struggle to find a life that will make them happy, whether or not that suits tradition.
Is It Any Good?
Shira Haas is extraordinary in this gripping tale of a woman who flees a life that leaves her miserable in favor of a future that's uncertain at best. Unorthodox takes place in a fascinating world that few viewers will have more than a passing familiarity with; just getting an eyeful of its customs -- Esty's wedding, the ritual mikvah she takes before it, the extraordinary shtreimel hats worn by the community's men -- is riveting. But when you add in Esty's story, truly a heroic quest, with an actor like Haas, who shows Esty's every emotion in her great staring lamps of eyes, the effect is positively riveting. From the moment Esty seizes her sneakily collected wad of cash and her identity documents before heading, shaking, out the door, viewers will be with her; the flashbacks to what she's had to endure up until this moment seal the deal.
For though Esty's Satmar Hasidic community is close-knit and often quite loving, the collective trauma of the Holocaust echoes terribly through their modern lives, with young women like Esty married off as soon as possible to become, as one of Esty's new friends in Berlin says, "baby machines." As we soon learn, Esty's marriage was neither brimming with love nor easy on the physical level. And, as she tells that insensitive friend, huge eyes flashing, "I am not a baby machine." But she escaped, right? She was never in prison, Esty says. She left without telling anyone, and now she must find her own way. She understands the good intentions of her community, even as she couldn't handle the oppression. And watching her find her way is nothing short of magical.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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.