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 Bunk'd is a spin-off of Disney's popular series Jessie and follows the adventures of three of the Ross kids -- Emma, Ravi, and Zuri -- at summer camp. The show's content is much like that of its parent series -- silly and superfluous -- but parents shouldn't have to worry about its impact on kids. The story's antagonist is a bitter middle-aged woman who's intensely jealous of the kids' parents, having had an unrequited crush on their dad when they were teens. Her efforts to sabotage the Ross kids' camp experience usually wind up backfiring and serving up just desserts for her instead. There's a bit of summer romance at play and some body humor (farting, mostly) in the boys' cabin.
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What's the story?
In BUNK'D, Emma (Peyton List), Ravi (Karan Brar), and Zuri (Skai Jackson) Ross leave their posh New York digs for the woodsy summer camp in Maine where their parents met as teens. Though Emma initially dreads the idea of being a camp counselor, her enthusiastic cabin mate, Lou (Miranda May), eventually gets her to see the brighter side of the experience. (And the interest of resident cutie Xander, played by Kevin G. Quinn, doesn't hurt, either.) Junior counselor Ravi has his hands full with his roommate, Jorge (Nathan Arenas), and Zuri takes on the task of teaching her new pal Tiffany (Nina Lu) how to ditch her summer studies and have some fun. But as the Ross kids settle in for the summer, camp leader Gladys (Mary Scheer) aims to settle old scores years after the kids' dad fell for their mom instead of Gladys at that very camp.
Is it any good?
This Jessie spin-off is as carefree as it is preposterous, but that's just what kids will love about it. Forget that the Ross kids' pristine experiences with "roughing it" put average family vacations to shame or that rules at Camp Kikiwaka exist to be broken, always with hilarious results. Forget also that the biggest troublemakers in the cast are a vindictive adult and her romantically desperate niece, both of whom hold grudges against the Ross kids for matters beyond their control. For the show's target audience, all of that pales in comparison to the pranks, chaos, and generally nonsensical content.
One positive result of the absence of Jessie's character is that it gives the kids -- and Emma in particular -- a chance to assume roles with more maturity than those they've played in the parent series. It's hard to argue that they're strong role models, but they do show some emotional growth from being mostly on their own here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how successfully Bunk'd follows the likes of Jessie. Does it live up to the original? Does the absence of two main characters have a positive or negative effect on the story?
Kids: Why does this show cast a grown-up as the main "villain"? Is this a common theme in the shows you watch, or is Bunk'd an anomaly in this regard? Who among the cast is a positive role model?
One of this show's themes is finding friendship in unlikely places. How do the characters' differences have a positive effect on their new relationships? Do your kids share friendships with peers who are very different from them?
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