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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Find Me in Paris is a teen dramedy about a ballerina named Lena (Jessica Lord) who travels through time from 1905 to the 21st century and must protect her secret until she finds a way back home. As with many fish-out-of-water stories, much of the show's humor comes at Lena's expense as she learns new social norms by immersion. She's also the victim of bullying and cyberbullying from a manipulative classmate who looks to keep her own social status by sabotaging Lena. Expect some teen romances that are mostly sweet but do include hugging and kissing. This international series also features a lot of really impressive dance sequences from the talented cast.
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What's the story?
In FIND ME IN PARIS, Russian princess and prima ballerina Lena Grisky's (Jessica Lord) life takes an unexpected turn in 1905, when a gift from her boyfriend, Henri (Christy O'Donnell), sends her spinning through time and lands her in 2017 as a student in the Paris Opera Ballet School. Suddenly Lena's thrown into a battle of wills with the school's top dancer, Thea (Hannah Dodd), and she must blend into a world of cell phones and hip-hop dancing to protect her secret. As she learns on the fly all about being a teenager in the next century, Henri and his father work tirelessly to find her and bring her home before the nefarious Time Collectors do.
Is it any good?
Set against a beautiful Parisian backdrop, this teen drama series has international flair and a welcome wholesome feel. The kind of stereotypical teenage angst that's pervasive in many shows for this age group is mostly absent here, likely because of the naivety of a main character who arrives on the scene from a more prim and proper time. Lord's Lena is plenty appealing in her own right, but when she's juxtaposed with her conniving social nemesis, Thea, the latter's bullying ways make her (and her behavior) entirely unlikable. In contrast, Lena's instant friendship with Ines (Eubha Akilade) is a feel-good example of relationships that go right.
Find Me in Paris has even more to offer teens who love dance, as the performing arts are featured heavily in many scenes. From classical ballet to more contemporary choreography that Lena and her friends explore as part of an underground dance troupe, this aspect of the show is a quality addition rather than a clunky afterthought. And then there's the love story that spans the centuries as Lena and Henri struggle to reunite across barriers of time and the pressures of those who would keep them apart.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how series like Find Me in Paris present teen relationships. What examples have you seen of positive friendship and romance among teens? To what degree is sex a pressure in them? How does this compare to your own experiences and those of your peers?
How do our time and surroundings define us and our experiences? When have you been in a position to feel like an outsider? If it's a familiar feeling for you, how do you help make others feel welcome when you are able? What can we learn from sharing our differences and relating on the interests and values we do share?
What examples of courage, determination, and other positive character strengths do you see in this show? What accounts for Lena's ability to adapt to her new surroundings? Do you think you would do so as successfully as she does?
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