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 this movie-based series, while presenting positive values, also focuses heavily on materialism and money, and little attention is paid to the consequences of frequent spending. Parents should also be aware that some of the subject matter, such as teen pregnancy and safe sex, might not be suitable for younger tweens. That said, the positive aspects of this series outweigh the iffy ones, which is why we're giving it an "on" rating.
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What's the story?
Inspired by the hit Alicia Silverstone movie of the same name that was loosely based on Jane Austen's Emma, CLUELESS centers on the life of Cher Horowitz (Rachel Blanchard), a pretty, wealthy, fashion-conscious Beverly Hills teenager who often seems, well, clueless about what's happening around her. But looks can be deceiving, and Cher proves herself to be intelligent, loving, and generous to a fault, despite being surrounded by flashy materialism. A teenager growing up without a mother, Cher is committed to taking care of her father, Mel Horowitz (played first by Michael Lerner and later by Dough Sheehan), who is her only immediate family. Cher often seems to be the stronger of the two as she tries to support her father emotionally while enjoying her affluent lifestyle. Her loyal circle of friends -- including Dione "Dee" Davenport (Stacey Dash), Murray Duvall (Donald Faison of Scrubs), and Sean Holliday (Sean Holland) -- support each other through thick and thin. Outside of school, Cher and her friends spend their time going on shopping sprees on Rodeo Drive, but these privileged teenagers also have a social conscience, and they often participate in activities designed to help the less fortunate.
Is it any good?
While highly sanitized and rooted in a very artificial context, Clueless does discuss serious topics such as teen pregnancy, smoking, drunk driving, and safe sex. These values are presented from Cher's politically correct point of view, demonstrating that it's cool and fashionable to do the right thing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how important it is to develop healthy spending habits and help people in the community who are in difficult economic circumstances. Families can also discuss the topic of political correctness. What are appropriate and inappropriate things to say and do in today's society? Do people ever take the PC concept too far? Finally, parents and tweens can talk about the issues that older kids face today, such as smoking, drinking, and other iffy behavior.
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