Pop Culture Intervention

Pop Culture Advice: How To Deal With Watching Awkward TV And Movies With Your Parents

We're all adults.

At A Plus, we're addicted to pop culture, and Pop Culture Intervention brings that obsession to the soapbox. Through this series, we'll recommend what you should be watching, reading or listening to; explore how arts and entertainment affect us; and interpret the important messages contained within various works.

"Should I watch this TV show or movie with my parents?" It's a question we've all likely asked ourselves once, twice, or maybe a hundred times since we began consuming media — especially if the show or movie in question is loaded with foul language, drug use, murder, and sex that would make you feel kinda awkward. Since this topic is so universal, we're offering a dose of Pop Culture Advice that will help you make the decision.


I know I've personally considered this query many times, but, to be quite honest, have always been pretty chill with my parents in regards to our TV and film consumption. I can't really remember actively not watching something because it would make me feel uncomfortable — and, while it doesn't mean I didn't feel that way during or after, I'm still alive. That insecurity and potential embarrassment are fleeting. It isn't the end of the world. Obviously, you're not watching porn together.

That said, I realize this is a real issue for many people of all ages face. If I had a dollar for how many times I've heard friends say they watched something with their parents they wish they hadn't, or that they would never watch this or that TV show or movie with their parents, I wouldn't be crazy rich but I could maybe buy lunch or something. 

Consider the fact that if you aren't willing to watch TV shows or movies that push the envelope with your parents, what are you open to experiencing with them? Things like Quentin Tarantino's over-the-top films as well as shows such as Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, or Sex and the City are so prevalent in society. Are you not willing to watch things like with your parents? What's left will be TV shows and movies that don't really say much at all or content meant for younger viewers. I'm not saying that media has to have these things in order to be groundbreaking, but these things are popular among it.

Just take a look at the TV shows and movies that win the big awards. When it comes to the Emmys, we have shows such as the TV-MA-rated Veep winning the top comedy series award, while others such as Game of Thrones and The Handmaid's Tale take home the top drama award. These shows are full of themes that might put you on the edge of your seat. When it comes to the Oscars, the trophy for Best Picture has gone to movies with an R rating 13 times since 2000, or around 72 percent of the time (the other five were for movies that had a PG-13 rating). Awards aren't everything and having these themes isn't necessary to elevate art, but they do largely point to what we as a society are watching.

Are we naive enough to think that our parents haven't partaken in the types of things that take place in these TV shows and movies? Your parents are people, too, believe it or not, and were your age once. Everyone involved here is an adult (we're not discussing what parents deem too mature for their young children to watch). There should be a mutual understanding that both sides of this are aware that these things happen and have, potentially, experimented with much of what we see onscreen.

There are numerous pieces online (and likely in print) about what you shouldn't watch with your parents, but how about we forget them? When you're faced with a situation in which you'll be watching something with your parents that might make you blush, just deal with it. Watch through your fingers, make a silly aside to lighten the mood, or hide under a blanket — whatever makes you feel better. Just give your parents the courtesy of showing them that they deserve to partake in media with you.

Cover image: PhotoMediaGroup / Shutterstock.com


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