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 there's nothing about this '90s Nickelodeon sitcom that's a concern for kids, although most of them are more likely to notice the show's very dated feel and significant cheese factor before they pick up on what it offers them in the way of content. The characters' antics are full of comical pitfalls, but they always have positive messages for viewers about getting along with others, making good decisions, and taking responsibility for your actions. Expect some pretty heavy flirting from some smooth-talking guys, and fair models in the teen girls, who usually see through their would-be suitors' charm. Diversity is limited to a Native American teen, but there are some references to his heritage and culture within the dialogue.
What's the story?
HEY DUDE chronicles the antics of a group of summer staff members at a fictional Arizona dude ranch owned by an awkward New York transplant, Mr. Ernst (David Brisbin). At the heart of the group are Ted (David Lascher), a well-meaning schemer, and his best friend, Danny (Joe Torres), a Hopi Native American. Sweet-tempered Melody (Christine Taylor) is the ranch's swim instructor who's often dragged in to Ted's plans, and the sharp-tongued Brad (Kelly Brown) teaches riding. Early episodes often centered on the love-hate relationship between friendly nemeses Ted and Brad, but after Lascher left the show, Ernst's nephew, Jake (Jonathan Galkin), was introduced as his replacement. Another staffer, Kyle (Geoffrey Coy), joined the fray later in the show's run.
Is it any good?
By any standard, this short-lived original Nickelodeon sitcom is pretty cheesy, but compared to the host of modern shows vying for the coveted tween market, its low-budget feel makes it a hard sell for viewers. On the upside, though, the teens are a likable bunch, and the troubles they encounter are realistic enough, typically focusing on misunderstandings, good-natured arguments that arise among them, or schemes that go awry. As they muddle through solving their problems, they pass along what they learn about friendship, responsibility, and peer pressure to viewers.
For some (namely parents), Hey Dude's slower pace and visual simplicity may be a welcome change from the often-hectic shows that today's kids typically watch. What's more, there's no fear of more modern issues like teen pregnancy or drug use making their way into the stories, so if your kids do want to tune in, there's no reason not to let them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship. What qualities do you look for in a friend? Do your friends share your interests and value system? Is diversity a strength among friends? What can you learn from respecting others' perspectives?
How does this show's style differ from that of other series you watch? Do these differences distract you from what the stories have to offer? What lessons did the story try to teach viewers? Do these messages come across clearly?
What is peer pressure? Have you ever been subjected to it? Why is it difficult to stand up against a group of people whose opinion differs from yours? What are some strategies to help you in situations like these? Can peers influence you in positive ways?
Themes & Topics
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