A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Youth & Consequences is a series about powerful and cruel cliques at a high school. These students treat each other terribly: They mock each other's looks, sexuality, and social standing; they play pranks and spread life-ruining gossip on the school social media site. Stereotypes abound, with teens called things like "the curries" (Indian students), the "ligbits" (LGBTQ students), the "retards and wheelies" (disabled students). Violence includes the death by hanging of a teacher, and characters wonder if it was a suicide or autoerotic asphyxiation. Sexual content includes jokes about a "three-way" and oral sex, and two teens shower together to share juicy gossip without being overheard. Language includes "hell," "s--t," "bitches," "suck," "pissed," "pr--k," and "f-g." Teens drink routinely, like when one character tries to win student council votes by giving away vodka in water bottles.
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What's the story?
In the YouTube Red series YOUTH & CONSEQUENCES, Farrah (Anna Akana) is the queen of her high school and the undisputed leader of her mean-girl posse: outwardly confident Jayne (Kara Royster), self-effacing Jane (Sophie Reynolds), and easygoing Grace (Piper Curda). But when a student council election upends Farrah's tidy power structure and a secret partnership with school gossip columnist Colin (Sean Grandillo) starts going off the rails, it's going to take all her dark machinations to regain her seat at the head of the table.
Is it any good?
Circling around a power-hungry school clique, this teen dramedy is intriguing, mean-spirited, and entertaining all at once. "High school is a great big buzzsaw that grinds people up into little pieces -- some people are just a little better at hiding the damage," says calculating teen-queen Farrah (Anna Akana, terrific) in the voice-over that draws us into the action. She's certainly good at hiding her secrets -- and holding power over other students. A school election (shades of Election) is the crux of her current concerns, as she and her clique (shades of Heathers and Mean Girls) plot to throw a student council vote, and use the school's social media page, known as C-rotch, (shades of Gossip Girl) to spread vicious election-affecting scuttlebutt.
Don't get her wrong -- it's not that Farrah cares who leads the school. Her interest is instead in using secrets and insider info to bend the other students to her will. There's only one student who can stand in her way: C-rotch editor Colin, whose crush on Farrah keeps him trotting to her tune. But when Farrah's latest patsy suddenly threatens to upend the school's dynamics, Farrah may not be able to hold on to her power for long. The unkindness and less-than-positive messages may convince parents to keep this one on the do-not-watch list. But as a sort of dark high school-set Dangerous Liaisons, Youth & Consequences hits the mark and may soon make converts of new viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stereotyping. What instances of stereotyping exist in Youth & Consequences? Do the characters reflect the groups you see among your peers? To what degree is stereotyping necessary for the comedy to be effective? Does it interfere with your connection to a character?
Can you think of other high school dramas? Why are schools such popular settings? What dramatic or comedic possibilities do they hold? How does this high school-set drama stack up to others you have seen?
Use this show to begin a discussion about the way that adolescents can treat each other, and the actions they can take to encourage each other to be kinder and more supportive. Do you know anyone who acts like the teens in this movie? Would you want to?
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