A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Andi Mack is a heartwarming coming-of-age story from the creator of Lizzie McGuire about a young teen whose world turns upside-down when her older sister moves back home. The content deals with the issue of unplanned pregnancy in an indirect way that's nonjudgmental, but it's also a major part of the slightly soapy plot. Younger kids might have questions about the Mack's unique family structure, and there are no easy answers, so parents may want to hold off until their kids can process the complicated issues. That said, the show is lots of fun, and it's a delight to watch Andi and her friends Cyrus and Buffy muddle through common woes of teen years, including crushes and school matters. Through it all, her family encourages her self-awareness, expression, and self-confidence.
VERY bad messages for kids. BAD role models. Encourages Peer Pressure. Teaches Disrespect of Authority.
What's the story?
When her nomadic big sister, Bex (Lilian Bowden), arrives unannounced on the eve of ANDI MACK's (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) 13th birthday and says she's moving back home, Andi is thrilled at the prospect of having a free spirit around. For every one of their mother's rigid rules, Bex has a method for bending it, and just having her there inspires Andi to step out of her comfort zone in the best ways. But when Bex reveals a long-held secret that turns Andi's world upside-down, it launches a new path of self-discovery for the introspective teen. Throughout it all, Andi and her friends Cyrus and Buffy are tight and help each other out through thick and thin, including crushes, school drama, and big feelings.
Is it any good?
This refreshing series doesn't shy away from emotion or meaningful issues in how Andi (and Bex, to a lesser degree) carries on after the world as she knows it takes a hit. In a surprisingly organic way, it affirms that while the process of growing up can be trying and uncomfortable, strong relationships and the bonds of family are our most reliable sources of strength. Andi Mack tackles big and small issues in this newly minted teen's life with humor and charm that's appealing to parents almost as much as it is to kids.
That said, the show introduces some fairly mature concepts, especially for the preteen crowd that frequents Disney series like this one. While the references aren't overt, even grade schoolers will pick up on hints at teen pregnancy, puberty, and a coming-out journey for one of the main characters. If your young kids watch, know that this aspect of the content could raise some questions for them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the everyday issues Andi and her friends Cyrus and Buffy face in Andi Mack. How does having each other make it easier to cope? How do they treat each other with empathy and compassion through all their unique personal challenges? Do any of their experiences resonate with you?
How does this series present relationships? Secrets? Andi, Cyrus, and Bex have each shared secrets over the course of the series. How did it go for each of them? Watch real families talk about their reactions to Andi Mack episodes here.
Does Andi feel pressure to look or act a certain way to fit in among her peers? Is peer pressure something that weighs on your mind? Is popularity important to you?
Bex is a unique influence in Andi's life -- they both have lots to learn. Do you think Bex always acts like a grown-up? Why or why not? How does she learn from her mistakes?
- Premiere date: April 7, 2017
- Cast: Peyton Elizabeth Lee, Lilian Bowden, Asher Angel
- Network: Disney Channel
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great girl role models, Middle school
- Character strengths: Communication, Compassion, Empathy, Integrity
- TV rating: NR
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Seal
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