Wait 'Til Next Year

Common Sense Media says

Teen drama plays out in football-themed reality show.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
10
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Positive messages include the value of teamwork, pushing yourself to do better, fighting for victory despite the odds, accepting yourself for who you are, and more. But the show is also voyeuristic in its window onto the lives of regular high schoolers struggling with acceptance, family problems, drug and criminal activity, sexuality, relationships, body image, and more.

Positive role models

These are regular kids (though many are more photogenic than average) who make all sorts of mistakes -- from mild to serious. The cast is from a range of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Violence

There are scenes of what some will consider hazing, including taking pictures of players in their underwear and threatening to make them viral and using a teammate as a target when throwing footballs. Injuries from cheering are discussed. Adjectives like "savage" are used to describe good football teams.

Sex

Teen couples -- both gay and straight -- date, kiss, and talk about sexual activity, including losing one's virginity. Teen boys take their shirts off in locker rooms; players grab their crotches. Girls wear bikinis; during one event they dance suggestively around poles in a limousine.

Language

Words like "damn," "piss," and "ass" audible; curses like "f--k" bleeped.

Consumerism

CoverGirl is a show sponsor. Logos for 7Up, Coke, Sprite, Pepsi, Cheetos, HP computers, Ford SUVs, and other items visible. Labels for Abercrombie, Under Armour, and others clothing lines are also shown.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One player discusses being incarcerated for selling marijuana at school; another has a parent who gets high.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Wait 'Til Next Year is an MTV docuseries featuring lots of football-related activities and some edgy, teen-oriented reality. Some of the team's activities (like using a teammate as a target for ball practice) can be considered hazing (though no one seriously gets injured). The language can get strong ("piss," "ass," "damn"; "f--k" bleeped), and there's lots of kissing between both gay and straight couples, some suggestive dancing, and references to losing one's virginity. A few story lines include drugs; a teen is arrested for selling pot, and there's a parent who gets high. CoverGirl is a sponsor of the show, and lots of brands make appearances.

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What's the story?

WAIT 'TIL NEXT YEAR is a reality series featuring the Lincoln Park Railsplitters, a Michigan high school football team that has the distinction of losing 43 games in a row over a five-year period. Adding to their luck is the fact that their football stadium is now condemned and being torn down. But this team, including quarterback Naeem, fullback Ed, and players like Tyler, Cody, Christian, and Dakota, are determined to break their losing streak with the help of Jim Kalbfleisch, aka Coach Kalby, who has left retirement to whip them into shape. Meanwhile, cheerleaders like Amanda, Samantha, Danielle, and Ashley are determined to perfect the squad to build the team's morale. They're all also working hard to improve their game off the field as they work out their various relationship issues.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Wait 'Til Next Year offers a voyeuristic and somewhat humorous look at an awkward football team that wants to rise from holding the record for the longest losing streak in Michigan history to being triumphant winners. In-between the drama on the field is some expected reality fare, including broken hearts, love triangles, and other relationship issues. Traditions in high school football culture also are highlighted.

Young football fans and reality viewers will be drawn to the likable group. But, although the show is more entertaining than uplifting, some of the narratives also touch on a few of the very serious problems these kids face in their home lives. In the end, it shows how their efforts to win aren't just about the game but are an attempt to prove to themselves that they have the power to overcome even those situations that seem hopeless.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about high school football culture in the United States. Why is having a strong football team so important for people? Is football important at your school? Does your school have any special football traditions?

  • How realistic is the action you see here? Do you think the things these kids do or the way they treat each other in front of the camera are how they really act on their own time?

  • Why do you think this team has its own reality show? Is it because they're known for their losing streak, or is it because they're trying to do something about it? 

TV details

Cast:Amanda Baser, Jim Kalbfleisch, Naeem Ruffin
Network:MTV
Genre:Reality TV
Topics:High school
TV rating:NR
Available on:Streaming

This review of Wait 'Til Next Year was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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