A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Almost Family is a drama that revolves around a complex issue: a fertility doctor who uses his own sperm to fertilize patients without their knowledge. Though the show attempts to deal with the moral and ethical implications of that act, it focuses more on the sensationalism of the story than on the violation and the profound impact it would have on its victims.
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What's the story?
In ALMOST FAMILY, renowned fertility doctor Leon Bechley (Timothy Hutton) is discovered to be a fraud. Early on in his practice, Bechley used his own semen to impregnate dozens, maybe hundreds, of his patients. All of a sudden, Julia (Brittany Snow), the daughter Dr. Bechley raised as an only child, is directly related to seemingly everyone she knows.
Is it any good?
Even beyond the deeply unsettling premise -- which seems to retroactively justify an act that is at the very least a huge ethical violation; at most, it's sexual assault -- Almost Family is unconscionably tone deaf on many things, but especially sex and sexuality. Each of its three female leads are introduced by way of their sexuality: Julia (Brittany Snow) has meaningless flings to help her self-worth; Roxy (Emily Osment) breaks the jaw of someone who tries to touch her inappropriately (and is shamed for it); and Edie (Megalyn Echikunwoke) doesn't enjoy sex with her husband so therefore, according to the show, must be a lesbian. And then there's the sexual relationship that Julia has with her half-brother! If Almost Family wanted to sincerely examine the moral and ethical questions behind Dr. Bechley's actions, it might be intriguing, but the show is more interested in sensationalism and, subsequently, downplaying the ramifications of an abhorrent act.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Dr. Bechley's choices. Do you think most doctors take the "do no harm" code seriously?
How do Bechley's actions affect his daughter, Julia? How does her opinion of him change? What does he do to try to influence her?
What is the impact of Dr. Bechley's actions on the other characters on Almost Family? What are the different ways in which people react to being a Bechley child?
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