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 Finding Carter contains some strong themes, including child kidnapping, coping with tragedy, and infidelity. It also features lots of risky teen behavior, including underage drinking, occasional drug use (marijuana, other inhaled substances), some rebellious antics, and sexual innuendo. There's some iffy vocabulary ("bitch," "piss," and "hell") and rude gestures, and arguments occasionally lead to pushing and shoving. Police activity and guns are visible. As on most MTV shows, the songs and artists played throughout are highlighted with instructions to get the music at MTV.com. It's a bit much for tweens, but parents might want to consider watching with their teens and discussing some of the themes.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
FINDING CARTER is a dramatic series about a teenager forced to restart her life and rediscover who she really is. After a minor run-in with the law, 16-year-old Carter Stevens (Kathryn Prescott) learns that the woman she thought was her mother (Milena Govich) was actually her childhood kidnapper. From one day to the next, she finds herself starting a new life with her biological family, including police officer Elizabeth (Cynthia Watros), dad and author David (Alexis Denisof), and twin sister Taylor (Anna Jacoby-Heron), who had been living in constant fear of what happened to Carter. She also meets Grant (Zac Pullam), her little brother, who was born after she was taken. While the Wilsons adjust to being reunited and cope with the continuing damage caused the abduction, Carter becomes intent on living her life the way she wants -- at the same time as protecting the woman she considers her real mom.
Is it any good?
The series, reminiscent of the novel The Face on the Milk Carton, combines the tragedy of childhood abduction with the angst and drama that teen-oriented shows are known for. But amid the improbable (and sometimes over-the-top) plot lines is a very believable story about a young woman's struggle to figure out who she is while being forced to cope with the sadness and anger she feels about her circumstances.
As with most MTV shows of this kind, Finding Carter features lots of risky behaviors. It also sends some not-so-subtle messages about some adults' inability or unwillingness to parent. However, much of this is offered up as a way of underscoring some very real and far-reaching consequences an event such as child kidnapping has on everyone involved. It's an engaging show and very likely to appeal to older tweens and teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about risky behaviors shown on TV. Is it ever appropriate to feature them, even if they're being offered in the context of a story? Is there anything that can be learned from seeing these stories in the media?