How to Rock
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Mean-girl dynamics overshadow show's positive messages.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
How to Rock intends to entertain rather than to educate, but there are some positive lessons in self-esteem and respect to be found.
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.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teens are attracted to each other, referring to classmates as "hotties" and flirting with them.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Some name-calling -- "loser," mostly.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Nothing overt, but the fact that the show incorporates multiple musical numbers in each episode suggests a soundtrack is likely in the future.
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.
Where to Watch
Based on 7 parent reviews
Not my favorite but it is TOTALLY appropriate!
Report this review
Fund show that teaches girls to be them selves.
Report this review
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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- 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
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Tween TV Shows
PBS Kids TV
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate