A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show exists mostly for entertainment, but there are some quality messages about responsibility, friendship, and defying peer pressure.
A mixed bag. The series groups characters into three cliques, depending on their feelings about the irrefutable nature of destiny. In some cases, characters exceed expectations by choosing good over evil; in others, they pay little heed to the consequences of their actions because they feel their futures are predestined. Some of the teens are exceedingly vain and concern themselves greatly with their appearance and wardrobes. Girls' appearances raise issues of body image.
Positive Role Models
Another toss-up. Some, like Raven and Maddie, defy tradition in favor of free will, and they make good choices because of it. Others act a certain way (not always nicely) because it's what they think is expected of them. Adults aren't always reliable, either; some encourage disruptive or hurtful behavior because it's "in their nature."
Sex, Romance & Nudity
The show is set in a high school, so there's a fair amount of flirting, mostly on the part of the girls who get starry-eyed and swoony when boys give them attention or fret over whether a love interest likes them. Some pair up into couples. The concept of a person being part of another's destiny is a common conversational item.
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Products & Purchases
This Web series is inspired by a line of Mattel toys and a website.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ever After High is a Mattel presentation that's closely aligned with a product line of fashion dolls and accessories marketed toward kids. The series tells the story of the teen descendants of fairy tale celebrities such as Prince Charming, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel, who are at odds over their beliefs about destiny and free will. This divides the cast into three cliques and causes strife among them, but at the same time, it calls attention to some characters' impressive abilities to stand up to peer pressure and heed their own values. Kids who know their fairy tales will enjoy the show's creative interplay with this "next generation" cast, but parents will have an issue with the female characters' rail-thin, sexualized body types and frequent flirtatious behavior.
Is It Any Good?
Much like Monster High, Ever After High is a joint Mattel endeavor of fashion dolls and a Web series. The marketing scheme is brilliant, of course, since those who watch the show inevitably will develop favorites among the characters and want the accompanying toys. There's nothing new here, as plenty of TV shows double as commercials for action figures and accessories, but the commercial angle is a factor to consider. You'll also want to scrutinize the subliminal messages about body image sent by the dolls themselves, who are impossibly thin, elaborately outfitted, and who (in the case of the girls anyway) defy the very laws of anatomical structure in their teetering high heels. The presentation is less like high school and more like a never-ending fashion show, but it is fun, and the creative interplay among the teens is especially entertaining if you know your fairy tales.
That said, there's something likable about how many of the characters address the show's burning question: Is destiny something you have to accept, or can you change yours by the choices you make? It's an issue that causes much strife among the teens and casts some of them as petulant and self-absorbed, but Raven's actions show kids the value in standing up to peer (and sometimes adult) pressure and doing what you know in your heart is right, even if it's not easy. It's also a good reminder that people usually are more than what their appearances suggest.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.