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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Good Trouble is a spin-off of The Fosters about two of that family's daughters moving to Los Angeles after graduating from college. Content is frequently more mature than what's found on The Fosters, where the characters were teens instead of adults. Characters are single and looking for romance; they flirt, date, kiss, even indulge in spontaneous casual sex with same- and opposite-sex partners. Viewers see lots of skin in makeout sessions but no nudity; bodies are also seen in non-sexual contexts like swimming and in a unisex bathroom. Violence is mild and usually confined to information about criminal cases one character is involved in, but in one scene a character texts while driving. Adults drink frequently and sometimes heavily, making risky choices while drinking; some scenes also show characters smoking marijuana. A workplace routinely offers free drinks to employees. Language is usually mild: "damn," "hell," "s--t." The cast boasts extensive diversity: racial, ethnic, socio-economic, gender, sexuality, body type. Characters are powerful role models -- hard-working young people with principles and strong relationships with family and friends.
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What's the story?
After leaving the comfy blended-family home they grew up in on The Fosters, Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Callie (Maia Mitchell) are new college graduates ready to start their grown up lives and get into GOOD TROUBLE. The sisters start by relocating to Los Angeles, where they move into an old converted movie palace right in the heart of downtown with a cast of vibrant co-housers. With housing settled, it's time to take on two more of the major prongs of adult life: work and romance. Their moms are never more than a phone call away, but these sisters are determined to make it on their own -- together.
Is it any good?
Borrowing its earnest and relatable tone from parent show The Fosters, this spin-off ages Mariana and Callie up into young adults entertainingly stumbling into maturity. First mistake: They choose an apartment sight-unseen, with their meager budget forcing them to choose a dusty shared room in a "communal living" community where everyone shares the kitchen, the bathroom, and the rat problem. But winningly, the other Generation Z residents of the "Coterie" turn out to be quirky and supportive, ready to debate social justice issues over shared dinners and to chip in with donated furniture once they find out all of Mariana and Callie's stuff was ripped off their first night.
There's even more juicy dramatic potential at work in Good Trouble, where each heroine is saddled with satisfyingly meaty work problems. Mariana parlays her MIT education into a plum job at the kind of tech startup with kombucha on tap in the kitchen but is sidelined by the bros on her team into doing low-level tasks. Meanwhile, Callie lands a prestigious law clerkship, but the office is a snakepit, with a mean boss and snotty, scheming coworkers. It won't take long before viewers are drawn into Mariana and Callie's lives, whether they were Fosters fans or not, because this is the best kind of spin-off, staying true to the spirit of the original while widening its focus.
Talk to your kids about ...
What does it mean when a series is "spun off" of another series? What other spin-offs can you name? What approach does a spin-off usually take to connecting the new series with the old one? Does Good Trouble follow that pattern? Would you enjoy this show more if you were a fan of The Fosters?
How would this show change if Callie and Mariana moved to a small town or stayed at home to begin their careers? How does a show's setting affect what you see its characters do and go through?
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