How to Rock TV Poster Image

How to Rock

(i)

 

Mean-girl dynamics overshadow show's positive messages.

What parents need to know

Educational value

How to Rock intends to entertain rather than to educate, but there are some positive lessons in self-esteem and respect to be found.

Positive messages

The show's ultimate message is that it's more important to be true to yourself than it is to be popular by your peers' standards, but it takes a lot of meanness on the part of the "in crowd" to illustrate that point. Some relationships between teens are superficial and based on emotional manipulation and control.

Positive role models

Kacey re-evaluates her relationships and opts to pursue meaningful ones instead of those that are based on popularity and peer pressure. Her new friends accept her as she is, which allows her to explore new aspects of her personality without judgment.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Teens are attracted to each other, referring to classmates as "hotties" and flirting with them.

Language

Some name-calling -- "loser," mostly.

Consumerism

Nothing overt, but the fact that the show incorporates multiple musical numbers in each episode suggests a soundtrack is likely in the future.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while How to Rock's overall messages about self-esteem and empowerment are worth kids' time, there's a lot of mean-girl attitude and generally dislikable behavior on the part of the "in crowd" that's a bit iffy for impressionable young viewers. Name-calling, image obsession, and emotional bullying go mostly unchecked, though they do draw attention to the main character's evolution from a self-absorbed diva to a much more positive model of friendship and self-control. Ultimately it all just calls for a serious reality check for your kids, who might otherwise get a pretty inaccurate impression of how teens relate to one another. A talented cast and catchy tunes are bright spots in the show, although this does invite the probability of song downloads and a soundtrack in the near future.

What's the story?

Social queen Kacey Simon (Cymphonique Miller) learns what life is like on the other side of the popularity fence when her flawless image is disrupted by braces and glasses, and her former friends, Molly (Samantha Boscarino) and Grace (Halston Sage), cast her out of their lofty clique/band, "The Perfs" (short for "perfect," of course). Facing social uncertainty, Kacey falls in with an unlikely group of average kids who welcome her as the new lead singer for their band, Gravity 5. To her surprise, Kacey starts to see her old relationships in a new light and develops affection for her new friends -- Stevie (Lulu Antariksa), Zander (Max Schneider), Kevin (Christopher O'Neal), and Nelson (Noah Crawford). Old habits die hard, though, and navigating high school with ties to both the "popular" kids and a lesser social circle can get complicated.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

HOW TO ROCK attempts to address the hot-button issues of self-image and bullying, and it does push the message that being true to who you are and seeking genuine relationships are the keys to true happiness. Unfortunately, much of this may be lost on the show's decidedly younger audience, since grade-schoolers and young tweens likely (or rather, hopefully) haven't yet felt the full impact of the pressures of popularity and body image. What's more, with no real-life experience with the complicated nature of social circles at the teenage level, kids won't be able to separate realistic content from what's exaggerated for effect and thus won't feel the full impact of the bullying that goes on among the teens. And don't forget the mixed messages sent by the fact that the dreaded braces and glasses that spell social death for Kacey last all of 20 minutes, after which she's back to her beautiful self while still mingling with the social outsiders.

That's not to say that How to Rock is all bad. As casts go, it could do worse than this multicultural one, led by the multi-talented Miller. (Music plays a big role in the content, thanks to Miller's stellar voice, so marketing an inevitable soundtrack goes hand-in-hand with the show's content.) Plus, there are plenty of laughs to be had by way of the characters' generally silly behavior. Bottom line? It's not the worst thing on TV, but there are plenty of shows that try harder to reflect reality and downplay negative behavior than How to Rock does.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about popularity. How important is popularity to you? Do you feel pressure to look or act a certain way because your friends do? Who determines what's "cool" and what isn't? What, if any, repercussions exist for choosing individuality over the will of the group?

  • Kids: Have you ever experienced peer pressure? How does it feel to be on the receiving end of it? How might it feel to inflict it on others? Why do you think people try to influence others to act a certain way? What are some ways you can cope with standing up to this kind of pressure?

  • Were you familiar with Cymphonique Miller before watching How to Rock? Now that you've heard her sing, are you inclined to check out her music? How do series like these influence your likes and dislikes?

TV details

Premiere date:February 4, 2012
Cast:Cymphonique Miller, Lulu Antariksa, Max Schneider
Network:Nickelodeon
Genre:Comedy
Topics:High school, Music and sing-along
TV rating:TV-G

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Adult Written byTinyToya February 10, 2012

Another Teen Show to Promote Music...

This show is obviously out to promote MUSIC. Surprise, surprise. The only good thing is that the music is not bad. The bad part is that the show is SEVERELY lacking. The characters are so typical, although I did like Stevie (tomboyish girl) a bit. Sadly, I had to try so hard to keep watching the program. It lacks adults and focuses on a shallow, familiar plot. Where is the family aspect of shows anymore? One just goes to school and then does a high-end music performance? Sigh. I don't blame the actors nor the musical aspect (because it's okay), but Nick just keeps pushing out the music theme. They're neglecting parental roles and the home lives of the main characters.
Kid, 11 years old July 15, 2013

BOO!

this show really oh my god as much I don't want to say that word I HATE this show
Teen, 17 years old Written byReviewer1200 December 27, 2015

Bad messages

The first episode sends out bad messages with Kacey's friends kicking her out of their popular friendship group just because she gets braces and glasses. This is terrible, especially since most of the viewers of this show would be at the age where they are getting braces! Molly even says something along the lines of, "You can't be friends with us anymore because you're not perfect." They should know at their age that nobody's perfect - Molly and Grace certainly aren't! So basically before Kacey got braces and glasses, these two girls were only friends with her because of her good looks....That is a terrible basis to form a friendship on! Anyway, the first episode ends with Kacey getting her braces off and after this episode, she is hardly ever seen wearing glasses again! I think she should have continued to wear braces and glasses throughout the series and learnt to embrace her 'imperfections' (although the one good thing about her not having them anymore is that it shows that, even though she was considered 'perfect' again, she still stuck with Gravity 5 and didn't go back to the Perfs, even though they said she could in the first episode). Anyway, I don't see what the big deal about having braces and glasses is. I used to have both at one point, as have many of my friends. At least wearing glasses means that you can actually SEE if you have poor vision and having braces means that your teeth will be nice and straight after the braces are removed! Therefore, I don't think impressionable young children should watch this show as the high school it is set in is very cliquey, and the students who have braces and glasses, or aren't deemed as 'perfect' by Molly and Grace, are teased. Kacey's new friends are nice though and the songs on the show are very good and entertaining.

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