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 series is about two very different teenage boys who become stepbrothers when their parents get married. They live above the garage in their fairly ideal upper-middle class suburban home, playing video games, eating chips, and avoiding their little sister's pranks. The series deals with age-appropriate concerns of acceptance and individuality, which both the boys struggle with in and outside the home. Ultimately, the boys learn from one another.
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What's the story?
DRAKE & JOSH suddenly become brothers when their parents get married. Drake (Drake Bell), a guitar-playing dude who cruises for chicks and uses hair product, is the cooler of the two, while Josh (Josh Peck) is the smart, awkward one who loves his grandmother and helps his stepbrother with his homework. Whether these two very different types of teenage boys would actually get along as well as Drake and Josh do isn't really the point of this show (which is a spin-off of Nickelodeon's popular The Amanda Show). More important is their willingness to try. Drake helps Josh to be "smooth with the ladies," while Josh helps his new brother to be smart with the ladies.
Is it any good?
The boys' parents are peripheral characters with lighthearted attitudes. (It's hard not to wonder how rules are set and followed in the household.) However, when Josh's Grammy (Randee Heller) shows up, a sterner, though jovial, role model appears. Grammy clearly wears the pants in the family, which might explain Josh's inherent self-confidence even when he's struggling with his self-esteem. Most self-proclaimed "dorks" wouldn't approach life with so much humor, or willingness to try new things ("How do we de-dorkify me?" he asks.)
Drake's female foil is his little sister, Megan (Miranda Cosgrove) -- the smarty pants in the family -- who is cleverer and possibly cooler than her older brother. In other words, the boys are kept in check by strong female characters who don't apologize for their strength. Drake & Josh certainly wins fans with its heart. That's a step in the right direction for Nickelodeon, which often depends on gross or violent jokes to fetch laughs.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the issues the show tackles, such as cheating, lying, getting busted for forgery, favoritism within the family, and, of course, girl problems.
The program's premise -- divorce breaking families apart and bringing new ones together -- is a very real topic for discussion. Is Drake and Josh's situation realistic? How would it feel to be brought into a new home with a new mom or dad and new siblings?
For kids who've experienced a similar transition: Do you enjoy the lighthearted humor with which Drake and Josh deal with their circumstances?
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