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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
A mixed bag. On one hand, the show presents a close, multigenerational family unit whose members live together mostly in harmony. Strong focus on resolving conflict, respecting one's heritage, adjusting to change. On the other hand, the show's focus on tired stereotypes of African American and Southern cultures disappoints.
Positive Role Models
Parents love their children (including adult children) unconditionally, even during times of differences of opinion. Disagreements happen and linger, but bonds of family always prevail, lead to forgiveness and reconciliation. Though there are generational discrepancies about matters of child raising and discipline, all the adults have the kids' best interests at heart.
Violence & Scariness
In one scene, it's implied that M'Dear uses a belt to spank Jade as the rest of the family overhears the sound and some crying.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some flirting among teens. Innuendo about sex as characters tease each other about "getting ideas" while they hold babies. Some partial undress; in a bathroom scene, Moz wears just a towel around his waist and shakes his rear end while Cocoa hints at being aroused by it and joins in.
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Rarely "hell," "damn," and "butt."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Family Reunion is a sitcom about a family that uproots from the Pacific Northwest to live closer to extended family in Georgia. Much fun is had at the expense of the culture shock that ensues, especially as it affects teenage Jade (Talia Jackson), who most resents the change and has the hardest time adjusting to the South's slower pace. The content raises matters of both past and present black experience, including touching on the civil rights movement and Black Lives Matter, for instance. There's also a scene in which it's implied that Jade's grandmother uses a belt to spank her as punishment for an infraction. Expect some sexual innuendo and partial undress in bathroom scenes (for example, a man dances for his wife wearing only a towel) and some mild language like "damn," "hell," and "butt."
Is It Any Good?
This sitcom espouses strong family values even as it struggles to overcome a vacillating combination of dated Southern culture clichés and politically inspired topics like climate change and what it means to be "woke." M'Dear is as stereotypical a character as they come, a deep-South matriarch who's opinionated, deeply religious, fiercely protective of her family, and, of course, the world's best cook. Swinging wildly in the other direction, on one of her first social outings, Jade encounters a bunch of teens who ridicule her for not knowing the history of the Black Panthers and, by extension, the modern fallout of the black experience of the South. Two young kids lament the effect of plastic straws on the environment while they play at the park, but the idea of physical punishment (with a belt, no less) for a kid's misbehavior is prominent and seemingly endorsed in one scene. Jade's lighter skin -- an anomaly in her family -- becomes a topic of conversation; she's alternately teased by her brother, celebrated as unique and beautiful by her father, and the source of a quip about someday being helpful in hailing a cab by her grandmother. The result is content that's hard to pin down and does little to define the show itself.
On the other hand, Family Reunion illustrates the joyful (most of the time, that is) side of multigenerational family relationships. There's so much to like in the grandparents' interactions with the kids, the idea of raising a family with a village, and the interplay between Moz and Cocoa and their elders. As the McKellans adjust to a slower life pace, small-town living, and extended family all around, they discover the experience changes them individually and as a group, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
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.