A.N.T. Farm TV Poster Image

A.N.T. Farm

(i)

 

Cute comedy has good anti-bullying messages for kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show is meant to entertain rather than to educate, but there are some good examples to be gleaned from a strong family unit and the self-confident go-getter at the heart of the story.

Positive messages

When tweens break family rules (sneaking out to a party, for instance), they learn that their actions have consequences. A popularity queen torments her peers by cracking jokes at their expense and intimidating them, but others' self-confidence usually puts her in her place. Body-related humor -- like farting and a character smelling the contents of his belly button -- is common.

Positive role models

China never lets her youth or inexperience stand in the way of getting what she wants, and she encourages her friends to stand up for themselves against their schoolmates who bully them. China’s parents are involved in her life and make her adhere to their family rules, but the show pokes a little fun at their authority.

Violence & scariness

Very brief instances of kids slapping or pushing each other, but it’s understood that it’s comical in nature.

Sexy stuff

Tweens and teens often are giddy in each other’s presence, and a main character has a hard time masking his crush on his classmate, but there’s no physical interaction.

Language

Some name-calling like "stupid."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there’s little reason to fret about this benign comedy series that centers on friends who lean on each other to navigate an uncertain social environment. The characters’ outsider identity can be related to kids’ own troubles with their peers, and with some parental guidance, there are positive messages here about self-confidence and sticking to personal values. An innocent crush gives way to some giddy flirting, and there’s enough potty humor (farting and the like) to fulfill kids’ need for this guilty pleasure, but other than that, parents can rest assured that these characters face realistic consequences for misbehavior and find strength in knowing that standing up for themselves can keep would-be bullies at bay.

What's the story?

Musical prodigy Chyna Sparks (China Anne McClain) is excited to be starting high school ahead of schedule, thanks to her place in the prestigious Advanced Natural Talents (A.N.T.) program, but she quickly learns that when you’re 11, rubbing elbows with more seasoned teens isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. While most of the students merely tolerate the A.N.T.s, a few of them -- like popularity queen Lexi (Stefanie Scott) -- go out of their way to make the A.N.T.s' existence miserable. Chyna's older brother Cameron’s (Carlon Jeffery) lack of enthusiasm over having his talented little sister on his turf complicates their relationship as well. But when the going gets tough, Chyna can count on her new A.N.T. Farm friends, Olive (Sierra McCormick) and Fletcher (Jake Short), to have her back.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

A.N.T. FARM is a funny and sweet, if not remarkable, addition to the line-up of Disney’s tween-friendly shows. Kids will empathize with Chyna’s desire to be accepted by her school peers, and the repercussions of her attempts to force herself into their good graces are close enough to realistic (being grounded after sneaking out to a party, for instance) that they send worthwhile messages about respecting family rules. What’s more, the show also brings sibling relationships to the forefront with Cameron’s unrest over his sister’s constant presence in his life, so there’s good opportunity to relate the characters’ experiences to those of your kids.

As for the content, expect a smattering of bathroom humor to keep things light, plus some age-appropriate flirting among 11-year-olds. Even the bully who’s central to the tweens’ social struggles isn’t completely unlikable, although her actions do encourage discussions with kids about handling similar situations.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about bullying. What are some of the different forms that bullying can take? Have you ever been the victim of or witness to physical or verbal bullying? How did it make you feel? How does technology like the Internet and cell phones change the face of bullying? 

  • Kids: Have you ever felt out of place in a social setting? If so, when? How does it affect your self-confidence? What are some coping mechanisms for dealing with these situations? How does having friends around change your reaction?

  • Kids: What are some of your talents? How do you cultivate your interest in these areas? What goals do you set for yourself with regard to them? Do you see yourself using these talents in a career later in life? If so, how?

TV details

Premiere date:May 6, 2011
Cast:China Anne McClain, Jake Short, Sierra McCormick
Network:Disney Channel
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Friendship, High school, Music and sing-along
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:Streaming

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Teen, 14 years old Written byaquaprincess May 12, 2011

Poor acting, cliche story

I don't understand why common sense media raves about this show. I watched the pilot, and I considered turning it off halfway through. I don't know if it's just because I'm older, but this show is annoying. I tried to be positive about it, but honestly, I can only hope it gets better because this show is going to flop right away. There isn't much that's inappropriate about it, but it's just plain cheesy. Don't waste your time on this show. EDITED TO ADD: I gave it one star. Common Sense Media doesn't allow no stars. If I could do no stars, I most certainly would. EDITED TO ADD: This show makes me sick. I don't watch it anymore, but I had to add this. I have NEVER hated a show as much as I truly detest ANT Farm. This is the worst show in existence today, and I am absolutely shocked that it actually passes for entertainment. To start with the main character, China- everybody in this show absolutely worships her. It doesn’t matter what she does wrong. She’s the Queen of the ANT Farm and everybody knows it! It would be better to list this than actually rant on and on about what I hate about this show. 1) China goes to high school, and so does Fletcher. Okay, I can understand why Olive should go to high school- her memory is fantastic. But why couldn’t China and Fletcher’s parents put them into a special school for musicians or artists? WHY do they have to go to high school? Talent in the fine arts is not linked to intelligence in other subjects! Is that promoting a good message? What if somebody doesn’t have excessive talent? Won’t they think they’re stupid? 2) Budget cuts. This one really frustrates me. If their school is experiencing budget cuts that are so terrible, why don’t they cut the stupid ANT Farm, or at least stop giving the ANTs ANT Pads? Is there a reason that they need tablets? They don’t do anything on those ANT Pads except to watch TV shows and play with apps! Meanwhile, the high school students get absolutely nothing! Each of these students gets their own personal corner- a personal RECORDING STUDIO must cost a lot of money, no? What’s the use of a personal recording studio if China keeps attempting to get ‘discovered’? And why does Fletcher have an art corner, and Angus the most advanced computer equipment in the world? 3) Class. So, can the ANTs come to the ANT room any time they feel like it? Because I’ve noticed they do NOTHING in the ANT room except for sit around and talk to their friends. Rather than letting their talents flourish, they basically skip class and talk to their friends. Yes, I’m SURE this is a way to let your talents grow! I’ve noticed China doesn’t even take a music class. Fletcher doesn’t even take an art class and Olive… goodness knows what kind of class she should take! 4) Thinness. It’s as if being extremely skinny is the norm on this show. I’m pretty sure this China person is anorexic, because she is SO thin. And then Angus, who’s only chubby from baby fat, is shown to be a ruthless pig, eating giant chicken legs and seeing everyone as meat. How does this make people feel when they’re slightly overweight? 5) Money! China’s dad is a police officer and her mother is a BIRTHDAY PARTY ENTERTAINER, and yet China still lives in a GIANT house and is able to get EVERYTHING she wants. Why do Disney Channel stars have to get EVERYTHING they want?! Why can’t they ever be slightly deprived? Just slightly? Maybe the main character should be struggling a tiny bit! Maybe they should be lonely and unpopular, or be dealing with a loss, rather than be dealing with breakups and their own faults. 6) Setting people up. These people are ELEVEN, for goodness’s sake. WHY are they being set up? For example, Fletcher has a major crush on China, and Angus has a major crush on Olive, but WHY would they go out at such a young age?! What next? Seven year-olds having their first kiss? Wake up, Disney! I truly hate ANT Farm. There is so much I could say about it, but I’ll spare you all. DO NOT WATCH THIS SHOW. Do not give this show ratings! Don’t kill your brains and promote bad messages! This is an awful show, totally fluffy, only it doesn’t make you feel good or get away from your troubles- it just makes you angry that this whiny girl has such a perfect life. Chyna’s talents should remain in singing. After all, I do think she’s a talented singer. But when it comes to acting, she needs to LEAVE DISNEY CHANNEL. She will only get Disney records, and everyone will know her as China Parks.
Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written byCindy R September 26, 2011

Pre-Mean Girls

I have a 5 and 7 year old and wouldn't let my kids talk like the kids on the show. Sassy and conceited language. I happened to catch this show only because the TV was still tuned to the Disney Channel from the morning. Though it's supposedly OK for older kids, I wouldn't allow any age to watch this. Seems like these kids are on track to be Mean Girls. I happened to watch most of the episode because I couldn't help myself it was so bad. I saw the episode titled "FraudulANT". Since my kids aren't tweens yet, I just haven't seen any of these shows geared toward this age, and I hope they're not all like this!
Teen, 13 years old Written byGlee rockz May 31, 2011

Blah show blaher do to bad portrayals

Don't let your 11 year old watch this, he/she could take it as an insult. Bad portrayal of adolescents. Oh, and for those people who say it's "Cute", cute is for bunnies. I just want to see something good.

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