A Girl Named Jo

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
A Girl Named Jo TV Poster Image
Some stereotypes and bullying in sweet, sincere drama.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Positive themes in this drama include tolerance, fairness, the harm caused by treating others differently because of their financial situation. Themes are slightly undercut by stereotypical characters. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some characters, like Alice and Lawrence, are stereotypical -- they're mean without a reason. Jo and Cathy have stronger, more realistic characterizations: Jo signs up for shop instead of home economics against her school's rules, and Cathy defies her snobby friends and family to become Jo's bestie. 

Violence

Bullying sometimes gets physical, like when a mean boy knocks Jo's book out of her hands, and a mean girl pushes her into a puddle. Trying to retrieve a stolen ball, a character is stalked horror-movie style, then we hear a faraway scream (he turns up unharmed in the next episode). A dad asks if he should "knock some sense" into his daughter's estranged boyfriend. A fire is responsible for a character's mother's death. 

Sex

Teens flirt and kiss. In one scene a girl kisses her best friend's boyfriend; they are discovered, and another character dumps a milk shake on the girl's head (but not the boy's). A boy sneers to a character that the character's sister will soon be in "the backseat" of his car. 

Language

No cursing, but characters sometimes come up with vintage slang: "Don't flip your wig!" and "Don't have a conniption!" a young boy says to his mother. A girl calls another a "skag" and a "four-eyed sweat hog," while a boy calls his girlfriend a "wet rag" for refusing a date with him, and a mom calls a teen a "heel." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Nobody drinks, but it's said that a fire was caused by the mistakes of a "notorious drunk." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Girl Named Jo is a drama about two teenage girls from different walks of life who navigate social dramas and try to solve a mystery in 1963. The show is mostly clean -- there's no sex, drinking, drugs, or cursing -- but two characters in particular are mean to others, particularly a girl who comes from a working-class family, who is called a "skag" and a "four-eyed sweat hog." A strange fire is the cause of one character's mother's death, and it's implied other characters know more than they're telling. Teens have dates, flirt, and kiss, including in a scene where a girl who kisses her best friend's (creepy) boyfriend in secret. Violence tends toward pushing and shoving during a fight, but in a spookier-than-it-needs-to-be scene, a young boy sneaks into a yard to retrieve a stolen ball, we see a foot come down, and then we hear the boy screaming (he's OK in the next scene, so what happened?). Two strong female characters anchor the action -- though there's not a lot of diversity in the cast otherwise. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 15 years old Written bymadic15 October 29, 2018

I love all Brat shows

Im 15 and still enjoy this show. I don't have to worry about watching it when younger kids are around no matter the age. I only said 8 because younger kids... Continue reading

What's the story?

In small-town Attaway in 1963, the life of pampered rich girl Cathy (Addison Riecke) changes when she befriends A GIRL NAMED JO -- Jo Chambers (Annie LeBlanc), the school misfit. At first, Cathy's put off by Jo's quirks, but soon grows to love her playfulness, sincerity, and bravery -- especially in the face in the untimely death of her mom after a mysterious fire. When the two join together to figure out just what happened to Jo's mom and why, Attaway will never be the same. 

Is it any good?

Sincere and well-acted -- if a bit cheap-looking -- this drama has appeal for middle- and elementary-school viewers who will warm to the two charming leads and their budding friendship. Setting a teen show in the 1960s is a little different -- today's tweens haven't heard of The Wonder Years -- and the period setting lends the two-friends-team-up-to-solve-a-mystery framework some extra appeal, even if the showrunners play fast and loose with historical accuracy (Pop Art as the theme for a 1963 high school dance? Really? And To Kill a Mockingbird wasn't even published until a year after the first episode supposedly takes place). Kids who do research using old newspapers, who've never even seen a computer, and who mostly deal with gentle issues like parties and friend groups? What a concept!

On the down side, some of the characters in A Girl Named Jo are a little gratuitously mean, like a cheerleader who calls a character a "skag" and a "four-eyed sweathog" before pushing her down in a mud puddle. Her male counterpart sneers at a brother that his sister will be "in the backseat" of his car before long, and mocks him for working at a diner. Obviously, these over-the-top mean characters are being set up for a comeuppance, but parents may want to make a point about how unacceptable these actions are -- and how much they hurt those on the receiving end. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether it's ever appropriate to use stereotypes to create drama. Why or why not? How are stereotypes used in A Girl Named Jo?

  • Why would a show be set in another time other than now? Does it make the show more interesting? How does this show convey its setting in 1963? Does it come right out and announce the time period, or communicate the setting in other ways? 

  • How do the characters in A Girl Named Jo demonstrate compassionempathy, and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

For kids who love tween TV

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate