Netflix’s GET EVEN Has Too Much Objectionable Content for a TV-PG Rating
By Arielle Anderson, Contributing Writer
The BBC’s teen thriller/drama GET EVEN follows four high school girls as they use their abilities to act as agents of vengeance and to expose injustices taking place in their posh, and very morally apathetic, prep school. It’s based on the book series Don’t Get Mad by Gretchen McNeil.
GET EVEN is rated TV-PG , but has extreme objectionable content.
Teens are actively dating and some are obviously engaging in sexual activity. No sex or nudity is ever shown on screen, but some kissing is shown between male and female couples and one kiss between a homosexual couple. Characters objectify and cheat on each other in dating relationships. A male student tries to blackmail one of his classmates into sleeping with him, while a teacher is found out to be sleeping with a student. All the central characters do view this as reprehensible behavior, but it’s pretty heavy for viewers. Sexting between all couples is discussed, but details of these messages are never shown. Several characters identify as either homosexual or bisexual. Some outfits worn show cleavage, but it’s not the norm.
One character is publicly humiliated by a school bully when photos of her in underwear are sent around the school. While the photo is not shown, it’s a significant focus. The character is also mocked for her body proportions.
There are some sexist comments, as well as public humiliation used as a punishment, and acting out to get a distant parent’s attention. There’s teen partying and drinking, with mentions of throwing up because of alcohol. One student runs a small-time betting scheme to make a little extra cash. Heavy themes of gossip and extreme bullying are discussed.
The language is fairly mild, and mostly consists of harsh insults and bullying, with some demeaning sexual comments.
A murder investigation is a primary storyline, but the actual act of murder is never shown. There’s never any graphic violence, but there’s suspense, danger, yelling, vicious verbal bullying, furniture being turned over, and characters sometimes fearing for their lives.
Characters also keep secrets, lie to their parents, run away from home, skip school, and steal.
There are some positive elements, even if hard to appreciate in the midst of an otherwise morally problematic series. The show exhibits some themes of friendship, growth, and redemption. For example, one character acts rebelliously only because she wants her dad to give her moral advice, and she recognizes how much she needs him to be there for her. The main characters aren’t perfect, but they bond over their mutual desire to fight the unpunished bullying in their school. Two of the main characters have very loving and supportive families.
Overall, GET EVEN is about doing what one feels is right without serving a higher moral code. The show exhibits themes of Humanism and Romanticism as well as some biblical themes of caring for those cast out and rejected by society. GET EVEN also presents redemption as a possibility for every person, even the very selfish and cruel ones.
One of the main points of the show is that these high schoolers need to take justice into their own hands because the adults in power don’t truly care about the students. This is tricky because we are told that vengeance is not ours, but the Lord’s. Some of the teens’ missions aren’t as much about revenge as they are about making the general public aware of something awful so the school will have no choice but to punish it.
The series is well-paced and lends itself to binge-watching with its cliffhanger episode endings and half-hour runtimes. But because of the mature themes and non-biblical ideals that take the reins, we wouldn’t recommend GET EVEN for discerning viewers.