A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive messages include that working to make dreams come true is difficult yet important. Focuses on the trauma that can result from bullying, infidelity, and insensitive parenting.
Positive Role Models
Both Lindsay and Miguel are thoughtful, well-meaning people who have been emotionally damaged and are afraid of being vulnerable for fear more is to follow. Both eventually transcend their fears to connect more authentically to others, as well as to strive for satisfying careers.
Miguel's background is Latino, which informs his character: He fears he can't live up to the standards of his White colleagues, and feels he doesn't fit in. Minor characters are people of color, but the main arcs belong to Miguel and Lindsay, a White woman.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual content includes no nudity, but implies frank sex, like when a woman and man kiss passionately, then reach into each other's pants; we hear rustling sounds and moans as the camera focuses on their ecstatic faces. In another scene, a woman says she's going into a public bathroom to have sex with a stranger; we hear moans from behind the closed door.
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Profanity is infrequent: "s--t," "damn," "hell."
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Products & Purchases
One of the main characters has a profession that's lucrative; he has a fancy apartment and expensive clothing (yet these trappings of wealth don't help him feel like he deserves his success).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes take place at bars with characters drinking brown liquor and cocktails. In one scene characters exhort each other to take shots by chanting "Shot! Shot! Shot!" Characters also blame their actions, such as being forthright about wanting sex, on being drunk. Lindsay's roommate smokes cigarettes frequently.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Up Here is a series about a couple that navigates a bumpy relationship in 1999 New York City with the beats of the story communicated through musical numbers, dramatic action, and an invisible Greek chorus that follows each main character around to voice their inner feelings. Mature content includes scenes with implied sex, such as when a couple begins kissing and then rustling sounds and moans reveal they've reached into each other's pants. Language is infrequent: "s--t," "damn," "hell." Scenes take place in bars, with characters drinking cocktails and liquor, and characters exhorting each other to down shots; characters also blame mistakes on being drunk. A side character smokes cigarettes. There's some diversity in terms of race and ethnicity, with a main character whose Latino background contributes to his insecurity in a career with all-White colleagues.
Is It Any Good?
With catchy songs and a quirky, interesting cast, this series combines theatrical musical sensibilities with episodic storytelling, with mixed results. As Up Here begins, Lindsay's story arc is pretty generic, as are the songs that illustrate who she is and what she wants. We've seen many narratives in which young women are transformed by a move to the big city (Emily in Paris jumps to mind), and the idea of a series that tells its story through musical numbers isn't new either (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is an obvious parallel). Miguel, too seems like a type: A guy from humble background who makes good in business and life, yet is held back by his own insecurities.
But as Up Here goes on, the characters gain a specificity that helps ground this story in a more real place. We learn that Miguel's smooth and sometimes bland exterior is a defense mechanism that keeps others from knowing more than he feels comfortable revealing, and that Lindsay's habit of defining herself through the man she's currently dating is a crutch she leans on to avoid taking risks she finds too scary. And though the show's Greek chorus of "inner thoughts" characters is a bit gimmicky at first, the device ultimately grows on the viewer, allowing us access to these characters' worst fears as well as their fondest hopes; all fleshed out in song that grows increasingly more memorable. Up Here takes its time warming up, it's true, but the rewards are worth waiting for.
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.