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 Dog with a Blog is a comedy series about a blended family whose remarkable adopted dog helps create a sense of unity among step-siblings. There are plenty of heartwarming messages about family ties and the bonds between people and their pets, accentuated here because viewers get to hear Stan's (the dog's) thoughts as well. Expect some mild teen rebellion with little consequence, bickering between step-siblings, and a lot of humor at the expense of the parents' naïveté about their kids' actions -- and their dog's ability to talk. The show centers on some issues that have relevance for all families, so talk to your kids about the real-world ramifications of keeping secrets from you and about the dangers of sharing personal information online.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When Bennett James (Regan Burns) brings home a shelter dog to help step-siblings Tyler (Blake Michael), Avery (G Hannelius), and Chloe (Francesca Capaldi) relate better to each other, it doesn't immediately have the intended effect. But then the kids discover that Stan the dog (voiced by Stephen Full) can talk, and they join forces to protect his secret from everyone, including their parents, Bennett and Ellen (Beth Littleford). Stan's unusual talent creates some off-the-wall predicaments for his new family, but ultimately the adventures bring them closer together, and Stan recounts all the new developments on his daily blog.
Is it any good?
DOG WITH A BLOG's family-centered, sappy-sweet plot casts a couple of familiar Disney faces (Michael hails from Lemonade Mouth fame, Hannelius from Den Brother) in the starring roles, which will entice viewers. The show is pretty cheesy, with clichéd humor and over-the-top acting, but it does a good job of providing clean-cut comedy with some heartwarming messages about families. Tyler and Avery's tug-of-war over rules and expectations of each other reflect issues that blended families in particular deal with, and while their resolutions are overly simplified for the 30-minute time frame, their experiences do offer some conversation points.
As for the blogging dog plot line, you'll probably find it a little hokey, but it may play to your kids' sense of imagination and offers a comical commentary on family life from a pet's point of view. That said, it's important to talk to your kids about the possible dangers of sharing too much personal information online. Stan's role as the instigator of hairy situations is slightly more forgivable than it would be if he were a more true-to-life character, but the show still glosses over situations that might be more troublesome in your kids' world, so draw their attention to the differences between how TV characters solve problems and how real people do.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about honesty. Is honesty always the best policy? Can you think of a situation in which you would be tempted to tell a lie? How do you feel when you say something untruthful?
Kids: What are some of the common disagreements you have with your siblings? How do you typically solve these problems? What do you wish your siblings could better understand about you?
What are your family's rules about using the internet? What, if anything, are you allowed to do online? What dangers exist online?
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