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 Instant Mom is a mostly family-friendly sitcom that has fun with typical family issues like sibling spats, teen rebellion, and the frustrations of parenting. Kids' and parents' missteps usually have consequences (though they're less serious than they'd be in the real world), and love is always shown to conquer all. Expect some mild foreplay in the parents' bedroom (lingerie, suggestive comments, and some cuddling) and a fair amount of grown-up drinking, especially when the stresses of parenting prove too much for stepmom Stephanie.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
INSTANT MOM stars Tia Mowry-Hardrict at Stephanie, a longtime-party-girl-turned-full-time-parent when she marries Charlie (Michael Boatman) and becomes stepmom to his three kids: Gabby (Sydney Park), James (Tylen Williams), and Aaron (Damarr Calhoun). The transition isn't an easy one, especially given the kids' knack for always being one step ahead of her in their schemes, but, as time goes on, she proves she's up to the challenge. Also, when things get too hairy for Stephanie, her mom, Maggie (Sheryl Lee Ralph), is all too happy to put in her two cents on raising kids and being a good wife.
Is it any good?
Instant Mom is a funny family sitcom with a little something for everyone. Kids are sure to chuckle over the siblings' antics that may or may not reflect what goes on in their own homes. Be it Gabby's attempts to shed childhood and become a full-fledged teen (much to her father's chagrin) or James' ploys to turn a profit on others' needs, there's never a dull moment in this household. Parents, on the other hand, may take a different view, empathizing with inexperienced Stephanie and her trial by fire of her savvy step-kids.
The show is predictably fluffy and presents a very sanitary view of life. No one's problems are particularly stressful, and every loose end is neatly tied up by the show's culmination, in keeping with the sitcom tradition. Still, there are some feel-good takeaways that reflect the bonds of families of all sizes and shapes, and the characters (both kids and adults alike) do learn something from the chaos they live through. All in all, this is not a bad choice for families looking for a show to enjoy together. Given the frequent allusions to the parents' bedroom play, though, it's best to wait until the little kids are asleep.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this TV family compares to theirs. Do their problems seem realistic? Do they deal with them in relatable ways? How do your relationships with your siblings stack up? Do you ever bicker? Why?
This family isn't a traditional one, but they are very close. Is there a one-size-fits-all definition of what a family is? Do all members have to be related? Are there people in your life who aren't relatives but whom you consider to be family?
Discuss the family rules that are addressed (and sometimes broken) in each episode and relate them to their own. Why do they exist? Are they respected? What are the consequences when they're disregarded?
Our editors recommend
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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.
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