Genre: Reality TV
TV Rating: TV-PG
Other Choices: Cheers, Boston Legal, Crossing Jordan
Available On: Online
Common Sense Says: South Boston gets reality treatment with family as focus.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that the reality series Southie Rules features some strong vocab, sexual references, and one instance of brief blurred nudity. Expect lots of idle threats of physical violence. Drinking and cigarette smoking is also visible. The show also highlights the importance of family as well as keeping neighborhood culture and customs alive.
- Families can talk about the ways that neighborhoods and their traditions are depicted in the media. How have films and TV shows depicted the south side of Boston and the people who have lived there over the years? Do you think the way this reality show portrays Southies is accurate?
- What is gentrification? What are the consequences of gentrifying a neighborhood? Is gentrification the only reason neighborhoods change?
- What does this family get out of being on a reality show? Are there any downfalls to being on TV?
What's the story?
SOUTHIE RULES is a reality series featuring a multi-generational family who is trying to preserve its long-established way of life on the south side of Boston. As the area's working-class neighborhoods continue to be gentrified, the Winters -- a family that has been born and raised in South Boston for generations -- continue to live together in a traditional Boston triple-decker home. Camille Winters, the family's matriarch, and her live-in ex-husband Walter, share their home with their eldest son Jon, who manages the family's tattoo shop, and their youngest son Matt, who is joined by his girlfriend Jenn, and Liana, their couple's one-year-old daughter. Their sister Leah lives on the ground floor with husband Jarod and their toddler, Abbey. Adding to the fray is Devin, Matt's best friend, who spends most of his nights inexplicably sleeping on Winters' family couch. From looking for non-traditional ways to find the cash to pay household bills, to participating in neighborhood customs like jumping into the Boston Harbor on New Year's Day, this native South Boston family refuses to let go of their way of life.
Is it any good?
Southie Rules offers a look into what it is like for people who are watching their neighborhood change dramatically thanks to urban planning, gentrification, and the departure of local families who can no longer afford to live there as a result. But most of the show is more focused on the Winters' family dynamic, which is both loving and chaotic in nature.It's fun, but the show often feels more like a poorly acted sitcom than a reality show, thanks to some obviously scripted scenes. If you can get past this, you will find that it also contains some humorous moments. Overall, while it doesn't focus a whole lot on saving the neighborhood, it certainly highlights its traditional people and their eccentricities.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The importance of family and community are major themes. The negative consequences of neighborhood gentrification is also discussed, and there are some strong feelings against "yuppies" expressed.
Role Models: The Winters are an extremely close-knit family. They live out some stereotypes of "Southie" behavior, which is amped up by the show.
What to watch out for
Violence Bickering and rough housing between family members is commonplace and sometimes includes throwing food and other items. Contains references to punching people in the face (but nothing really happens).
Sex: Quick references to losing one's virginity, porn, sex toys, and other sexual topics. Sexy male strip dancing is visible at a bachelorette party; nudity is blurred. This is more comical than sexual.
Language: Words like "ass," "bitch" audible; curses like "s--t" are bleeped.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Wine and beer drinking is visible. Walter is a cigarette smoker.