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 Code: 9 is a hidden camera series in which kids get the better of their unsuspecting parents in high-tech practical jokes. The family involvement and the fact that pranks are tailored to the victims' particular hobbies or personalities make them fun for families to watch, and it might start some plotting and scheming on your own kids' part. Expect choreographed explosions, destruction of property, and other carefully planned disasters designed to cause victims distress as they watch the scene unfold. There are plenty of laughs to be had at the subjects' expense, and although the show's creators are careful to keep the mood light and the anxiety to a timely minimum, you can use the concept to talk to your kids about bullying.
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What's the story?
In CODE: 9, family members work with host Wes Dening and a movie-caliber special-effects team to pull off outrageous practical jokes at the expense of one of their own. Each episode features a new family of pranksters with an elaborate idea for pulling a gag on one of their parents -- and with the help of stunt experts and a make-up crew that transforms one of the kids into an extra for the event, they try to pull off the ultimate hoax.
Is it any good?
A practical joke is only as good as its victims' sense of humor, so the fact that Code: 9 recruits family members to design and pull stunts on each other ensures a light mood and smiles all around at the joke's end. However rattled or anxious parents are when they're in the hot seat, facing the fact that they've been had by their kids never fails to amuse, and everyone enjoys a laugh in the end. The show is tailored to kids as well, making them the stars as they plot against their parents; yours will get plenty of giggles as they watch the details of the prank unfold from the kids' perspective.
Very young kids won't grasp the humor behind subjecting someone to a potentially upsetting prank, but Code: 9's clean content and family centered humor makes it a fun choice for viewing with almost all ages. If you do tune in with your kids, be sure to use the opportunity to talk to them about the difference between what they're watching and more harmful bullying.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it feels like to bear the brunt of a joke. How do the victims react to the pranks? Do you think they mind being the center of attention once the truth comes out? How would you feel in a similar situation?
Kids: How does this kind of attention differ from bullying? Why do some kids bully others? Have you ever seen it happen? How can you respond to it if you do?
What are some of your family's favorite things to do together? What are your favorite memories of family fun? Do you ever play tricks on one another?
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