The article discusses the characteristics and functions of television criticism on the first Finnish soap opera Salatut elämät (1999–). By analyzing television critiques published in the newspapers Helsingin Sanomat and Aamulehti, the article analyses how notions of the television audience and television’s affect on young audiences were constructed. Newspaper critics seemed most concerned about the soap opera’s representations of drug use, sexual identity and teenage pregnancy. These issues were discussed in patronising discourses of moral panic and pseudo-criticism. The article also suggests that one of the most important contexts for such television critiques is a major change in the ways how parenthood is understood in Finnish culture.