Winter is coming – and since many of us won’t be able to have family gatherings outdoors for the next six months, the TV will most likely be the primary entertainer during Sunday afternoon visits at the ‘rents. But before you reach for the remote, there are some shows you should consider putting on your “NC-Parent Unsuitable” list.
Not that you shouldn’t watch these shows – quite on the contrary. They are some of the most compelling series that are currently airing on TV (and a few that have finished their runs). But watching them with your parents could lead to uncomfortable situations that leave you wishing you were still young enough to escape to your childhood bedroom.
Here are the 11 TV shows you shouldn’t watch with your parents.
While older kids might be able to watch David Duchovny’s character, Fox Mulder, investigate paranormal cases on The X-Files with their parents sitting next to them, Duchovny’s follow-up series Californication is the furthest thing away from being a family-friendly show. In fact, it’s at the top of the list of shows that make you cringe when watching them with your parents. Though it doesn’t take a genius to figure out there’s going to be a lot of sex in a show with “fornication” in the title.
Duchovny’s character, Hank Moody, is a novelist who abuses drugs and alcohol and, most notably, has a sex addiction problem. In every episode, you can expect to see Hank mounting another conquest. His sex life is every 16-year-old boy’s wet dream, but the last thing anyone wants to see is their dad living vicariously through Hank’s genitals. Or even worse – thinking that their own dad has or has had a sex addiction problem. Unless watching Moody get his horndog on with your parental units around is your idea of a good time, Californication is best watched with people your own age.
Like Californication, there is sex-a-plenty in Shameless. But like the title implies – the sex in the show is featured shamelessly, which makes it hilarious, but at times embarrassing to watch.
Fiona (Emmy Rossum) loves sex and viewers see her getting it on in pretty much every episode. But the locations in which she does it can been less than savory – such as filthy countertops or on top of a sandwich in the back of a dirty car. Those scenes were pretty shameless, but it didn’t beat the episode when a teenage girl was caught giving fellatio under the dinner table. But perhaps even worse was the scene where Frank (William H. Macy), Fiona’s father, had his sex session streamed on a website called “Daddyz Girl.”
Skins (U.K. version)
Skins is British drama that follows the lives of teenagers through their two years of sixth form – i.e. junior and senior year of high school for Americans. There was an American version of this show that premiered on MTV in January 2011, but it was quickly canceled in June 2011 due to the amount of sexual content it featured in every episode. There were some accusations of child pornography, since some of its cast members were under the age of 18.
The British version of Skins aired for six years, from 2007-2013. The show is best known for its controversial storylines involving teenage sex, such as masturbation and pregnancy. It was, however, also praised for its realistic portrayal of adolescent struggles with eating disorders, substance abuse, mental illness, bullying, and dysfunctional families.
Oz is groundbreaking for many reasons, most notably because it was the first hour-long drama produced by HBO – and heralded the coming of many more great series form that network. The show chronicles the lives of criminals living in the “Emerald City” of Oz, a maximum-security correctional facility.
Oz is known for its phenomenal writing and acting. But it’s also known for its violence and gratuitous sex scenes, which can make it difficult to watch by yourself, let alone with your parents. The fight scenes are brutal, sometimes leaving characters next to death, and it takes a while to get the bad taste out of your mouth from the sexual assault scenes. The show also features its fair share of profanities, drug use, and frontal nudity – probably not the best backdrop for Sunday night family dinners.
“Fang-bangers,” bondage, threesomes, and orgies: True Blood is a great guilty pleasure – but not one you should probably partake in with the folks around. The opening credits feature half-naked women and tawdry dancing – this should give most viewers a hint to the amount of debauchery in the show before even watching it.
The sex is plentiful and downright raunchy in the show, and there are various instances of full-frontal female nudity. And while most viewers revel in the sex scenes, especially those between Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Jason (Ryan Kwanten), all arousal would be lost if end up watching it with your parents. Where’s the fun in that? Do yourself a favor and enjoy this one with a friend, significant other, or even by yourself.
Jackass is a show you should watch with your parents if you want to torture them. Every episode features Johnny Knoxville and his crew of delinquents performing ridiculous stunts that would make most parents’ eyes roll to the back of their heads. Such stunts include when Johnny Knoxville covered his private parts with bees or when the crew, with only their underwear on, threw a dog bone at each other’s genitals.
Along with the juvenile stunts, most parents probably wouldn’t take kindly to the treatment of Bam Margera’s dad, Phil, who was the brunt of many pranks. One of the most memorable was when Bam woke his dad up from a peaceful night’s sleep by lighting fireworks in his room. Then the following morning, the fireworks ensue when Phil gets in his truck to go to work at 5 a.m. Is having a jackass son a legitimate excuse for being late to work?
Sex and the City
Sex and the City follows four 30-something women as they go through the ups and downs of work, love and life in Manhattan. The show has often been praised for its realistic portrayal of female sexuality. In many scenes, the women talk about sex they recently had – unabashedly.
And while many women can relate to their experiences of one-night stands, having really great or god-awful partners, they probably don’t want to parlay those experiences with their parents. Even if the talk of sex doesn’t make you or your parents get red in the face, the one-liners from self-proclaimed “tri-sexual” Samantha Jones are bound to do the trick.
Girls is a dramedy that follows a group of twenty-something women in New York City. The storylines in the show are based on creator Lena Dunham’s real-life experiences. The show has broken many barriers of featuring sex realistically on TV. For example, in many shows, the sex is always great and characters are screaming in ecstasy. Not the case with Girls – they show sexual experiences that are messy, awkward, or not remotely pleasurable for the female protagonists.
The show also features an abundance of nudity – mostly from Dunham’s character Hannah, who is often nude just for the sake of being nude. But one of the most uncomfortable, cringe-worthy nude scenes doesn’t revolve around Hannah, but rather her parents who were shown celebrating their anniversary by having sex in the shower.
Who wants to think about their parents having sex, especially when they are sitting right next to you? Awkward! There’s some comic relief at the end of the scene when the father slips walking out the shower, falls on the floor, and renders himself unconscious.
Broad City follows two twenty-something pot-smoking women, Abbi Abrams (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana Wexler (Illana Grazer) running amok in New York City. They face the same struggles many young people encounter, such as not being able to get ahead at work, not having any money, and being slaves to technology. To find reprieve, the slacker duo find adventures in everyday situations most people would find mundane. For instance, in one episode, Abbi goes to Whole Foods high and ends up making a mess of the store and spending over $1,000 on food.
Anni and Illana fight the conventions of how women are supposed to act by belching, farting, explicitly talking about sex, and acting vulgar without apology. Abbi and Illana are the modern, feminist version of Bill and Ted – but like the latter characters, their antics are best viewed without parental judgment.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl
Secret Diary of a Call Girl follows a high-class call girl, Belle (Billie Piper), servicing a variety of clients in London. The show is hysterical due to all of the odd sexual requests from Belle’s clients. Of course, Belle always wants to give her clients exactly what they desire – so she gets what she asks for.
In one episode, Belle’s client asks her to call herself a dirty goat and make sheep sounds while they are having sex. In another episode, Belle’s client wants her to bottle-feed him like a baby. In one especially memorable scene, a client asks Belle to wrestle with him in order to get him aroused. While hilarious, the situations Belle gets herself into lend to a very uncomfortable viewing experience when watching with parents.
American Horror Story
Unlike other shows on this list, the reason why you shouldn’t watch American Horror Story with your parents doesn’t have to do with explicit sex, substance abuse, or profanities. It’s because the show is downright disturbing. It may just leave a scar deeper than any of the ones your parents gave you.
While each season of the show features a new storyline and characters, one thing remains the same: creator Ryan Murphy will shock and disturb you. From the Columbine-like shooting in the first season, subtitled “Murder House,” to adult breastfeeding in the second season, “Asylum,” to Kathy Bates’ decapitated head in “Coven,” viewers never know what disturbing thing they will see next. While that’s one of the reasons why the show is so addicting, it’s probably best not to subject your parents to unnecessary nightmares.
Disagree with a show on this list? Or do you think we forgot one? Let us know below!