You don’t just get into Duke University. It doesn’t open its doors to just anyone. No, if you want to go to Duke, you button up your sweater vest, push back your spectacles and crack open the books.
At least, that’s what Quinn Ackerman always assumed.
Getting into Duke has always been Quinn’s goal. After her dad passed away when she was 12, she determined that she would one day walk the halls of her father’s alma mater.
But it turns out that the ivy league of the South is looking for more than head knowledge. They want pizazz. Something that sets you apart from all the others who held a 4.0 grade point average while serving at nursing homes and religiously playing cello on the weekends.
The only problem is that Quinn doesn’t really have that thing. You know. That … flair. But her best friend Jas sure does. Longtime skilled dancer for their competitive high school dance team, the Thunderbirds, Jas might not have the grades, or the appreciation she deserves as a dancer, but she sure has the moves. And if Quinn is going to get into Duke, she’ll need to convince Jas to drop out of the over-rated Thunderbirds to form a misfit dance team and win a big-time competition… all while somehow teaching Quinn to dance her way into the university of her dreams.
Quinn is an intellectual, brave, helpful and kind young woman. She often pushes past her fears and uncomfortable situations to better herself and try new things. Quinn also encourages those around her to try their hardest and realize their potential, even when she struggles to see her own worth. Quinn makes a few selfish choices but apologizes in the end.
Jas, Quinn’s best friend, defends Quinn and encourages her to stand up for herself. She also helps find a group of misfit dancers and encourages them to find their potential and skill, without demanding they change their personalities.
Other characters realize their potential and push past unfair stereotypes. Quinn’s mom is sweet and supportive.
Viewers learn the importance of bravery, passion, friendship, commitment and perseverance.
Quinn literally prays to Beyonce, asking her to help her be a good dancer. Later, she says that she could “feel Queen Bey’s light shining down on me.”
Quinn says, “Dancers are the athletes of God.”
A team captain asks a dancer to “sage the space” when an unwanted student comes to audition. A teen girl talks about her interpretation of the Rapture, being that people get “sucked into the sky.” In a stressful situation Jas tells Quinn, “I’m gonna go pray.”
Jas obsesses over a guy whom she pictures shirtless a few times. Jas also insinuates to the same guy that the two of them should have sex by making use of a mattress. Quinn reminds Jas about a former “sexting incident.”
We hear that a group of senior citizens watch the movie Fifty Shades of Grey at a nursing home and an elderly woman talks about how much she loves the show Queer Eye. A teen boy has a visible erection during a dance performance (although his privates are covered by his pants).
Teen girls wear crop tops. Dance moves include twerking along with other sensual dance scenes. Couples make out, kiss and flirt.
We hear that Quinn’s father passed away when she was 12. An elderly man dies during a dance performance (although we only see him being rolled away in a body bag). A teen girl says that “the world is burning.” An electrical accident leaves a dancer with singed hair and we hear that someone was accidentally electrocuted in the process.
God’s name is misused over ten times, once paired with “d–n.” Jesus’ name is misused once. The s-word is heard more than ten times. Other profanities include multiple utterances each of “a–,” “h—” and “d–n,” as well as the phrases “p-ss off” and “screw them.” After hitting a girl with water balloons a young boy rudely calls out “eat me!”
Jas degrades his fellow dancers and classmates. He also forces those around him to treat him with reverence as a sort of dance expert.
Jas sits on the toilet (we see her from the chest up but hear her urinate). Jas tells a group of dancers that they look like “a tampon commercial.” Quinn talks about getting a wedgie as a child. An emo teen reads and abides by the principals of Nietzsche (this is played as funny, as it’s part of her character).
Quinn gets a half-day suspension, lies to her mom and drives illegally.
Netflix’s latest TV-14 original, Work It, is a teen dance flick to its core. There’s drama, romance, competition… and a whole lot of breaking out into random dance.
Unlike many new originals landing on Netflix, this one focuses on friendship, perseverance and the importance of learning to enjoy life and those we love. It also stays away from any explicit sexual content.
Does that mean it’s squeaky clean? Certainly not. There are still plenty of sexual content issues here, crude language is heard and a few skewed spiritual moments are played for laughs. So, while there’s a lot to like here, there’s also plenty that might leave you feeling a little off beat.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).