Cousins for Life

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Cousins for Life TV Poster Image
Heartwarming sitcom celebrates joyful, chaotic family life.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

Ivy and Stuart rarely see understand each other, but that doesn't stop them from being best friends. They respect what makes them different and team up to do the impossible, which usually involves undoing some kind of chaos they've managed to start. The series centers on a strong, nontraditional African-American family unit whose members support each other when needed. On the downside, there are few realistic consequences for troubles at the kids' hands.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lewis and Clark have opposing parenting styles, but each one has merit and reflects the dad's priorities. That said, they can be fairly oblivious to what their kids are up to.

 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cousins for Life is a sweet family sitcom about embracing differences and valuing family connections over everything else. The stories are fairly predictable -- pragmatic Ivy is frustrated by her cousin Stuart's pie-in-the-sky plans, mayhem ensues, and the tweens must concoct a creative way to reduce the calamity -- but the reminders about connecting with family members (even the crazy ones!) are hard to miss. Expect a lot of preposterous antics that the kids keep from their parents but otherwise lighthearted comedy that's suitable for families.

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What's the story?

In COUSINS FOR LIFE, 12-year-old cousins Ivy (Scarlet Spencer) and Stuart (Dallas Young) find their relationship strained when Stuart and his dad, Clark (Ishmel Sahid), move in with Ivy's family after Stuart's mom is deployed overseas. In such close quarters, Stuart's impulsiveness and carefree attitude wears on Ivy, and her seriousness and social consciousness can be kind of a drag for him. But with some time and mutual understanding, these cousins and best friends discover that their differences don't have to separate them.

Is it any good?

It doesn't break any new ground, but this series paints a heartwarming and reassuring picture of the joy that's born of family chaos. Cousins for Life is quick to illustrate the stark contrasts in personality and living styles between easygoing Clark and his more serious brother, Lewis (Ron G.) (yes, Lewis and Clark), and by extension, their respective offspring. Where one branch of the family tree revels in order and predictability, the new arrivals mostly fly by the seat of their pants. They drive each other crazy, hilarity ensues, but at the end of the day, they're thankful for each other's presence. In other words, they're a family.

Cousins for Life is a story about overcoming differences and respecting individuality. Ivy and Stuart have very little in common, but that doesn't matter to them. They're cousins first and best friends second, and that's enough. Parents will note that much of the mischief in the show is fairly unrealistic (Stuart "solves" a problem for Ivy by bringing home dozens of shelter animals, which they manage to keep secret from Lewis for instance), but that matters very little in the general scheme of lighthearted entertainment that's suitable for the family.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Stuart and Ivy's relationship weathers the storms. What do they learn about teamwork and cooperation from having to solve the problems they cause? Why are these important character strengths? How do their different approaches to solutions reflect their personalities?

  • In what ways do the characters in Cousins for Life resemble your family members and/or structure? Is there one definition of a family? What does family mean to you? Do you have family members who aren't biological relatives?

  • What other shows and movies does your family enjoy together? What are some of your favorite ways to spend time together that don't involve screens?

TV details

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