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Funny, family oriented series has some stereotyping.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate, but there are some feel-good messages about strong family unity and mutual respect.

Positive messages

A mixed bag. Sweet messages about family ties and balancing work and family. There's diversity in the multicultural cast (although this is slightly offset by the fact that the central family seems to be poking fun at the modern trend of celebs' international adoption), but unfortunately the show caters to ethnic stereotypes in casting these characters of color -- sassy African-American cutie Zuri and scrawny, meek Ravi, who's of Indian descent. All of the characters experience emotional growth from being together and growing as a family. There's a lot of "playground" talk among the kids as well, with put-downs like "Shut your pie hole" and persistent name-calling. Bullying and cyberbullying are also an issue in some storylines (among kids and adults), and although the overriding message is that standing up for yourself can stop the behavior, the characters don't always tackle the problems in admirable ways.

Positive role models

Jessie always has the kids' best interest at heart, and she's willing to go the extra mile for their well-being. The Ross parents generally defer both the responsibilities and rewards of child-rearing to their nanny because they're away so much, but she encourages their involvement for the kids' sake. Kids often talk back to their authority figures and talk smack to other kids, and these dynamics are the basis for a lot of the show's humor. Women often come across as materialistic and image-obsessed, and the younger girls follow suit.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Kissing between adults, and some heavy flirting and slightly inappropriate comments on the part of a boy who's smitten by his nanny. Brief body-related references like a bra that escapes a suitcase. Most female characters are very conscious of the way they look and the impact it has on guys.


No cursing, but kids and adults engage in name-calling and put-downs the likes of "stupid," "puke face," and offering up a "buttkick."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will be drawn to this series by star Debby Ryan, who's familiar to most Disney fans from her roles in The Suite Life on Deck and 16 Wishes. The show offers some positive social messages about family life, with plenty of kid-friendly, gag-style humor mixed in. That said, the characters' behavior isn't always idyllic, and in some cases, both kids and adults are known to poke fun at people's appearances, engage in some bullying (using the threat of a post on the Internet to change someone's behavior, for instance), and, in the case of women and young girls, cater to society's image standards. The cast's diversity sends questionable messages by falling victim to racial stereotyping in the case of African-American and Indian-American characters, and jokes of a mildly sexual nature give a grown-up flair to the dialogue. The bottom line? There is some likable content here, especially when it comes to the relationships in this blended family, but it's a real know-your-kid scenario.

What's the story?

JESSIE centers on a small-town girl (Debby Ryan) who follows her dreams all the way to the Big Apple, where she accepts an impromptu job offer as a nanny to four kids: Emma (Peyton List), Luke (Cameron Boyce), Ravi (Karan Brar), and Zuri (Skai Jackson). What seems like a simple task results in far more complications than she anticipated as Jessie learns to balance the kids' sibling rivalry, their individual needs, and the fallout from their jet-setting parents. As if this isn't chaos enough, she's also learning the ropes of her newfound independence and attempting to carve out a career in the competitive New York atmosphere. But at the end of the day, it's the relationships with her new "family" that smooth out the rough edges of her transition.

Is it any good?


Disney poster girl Ryan delivers an exuberant performance as Jessie, a fresh-faced New York transplant who sees the world through perpetually rose-colored glasses. She's a likable heroine who tries to find the best in people, always speaks her mind, and isn't daunted by challenging circumstances, and she finds an unexpected niche as a role model to four kids badly in need of a unifying force in their lives. Predictably, Disney plays up the humorous aspects of life in such a bustling household (sibling rivalry, an unusual pet, and a grumpy butler, for example), at the same time making sure that the show's feel-good messages about family and relationships don't go unnoticed.

But Disney stumbled a bit in rounding out this promising series with impenetrable themes, particularly when it comes to respecting the cultural diversity within the cast. Central to this downfall is the character of Ravi, who keeps close ties with his Indian culture through dress and language but is often the subject of jokes because of it. Parents may also cringe over how Jessie, Emma, and to some degree Zuri perpetuate unreal image standards, as well as sexual undertones to some conversations and quips between Luke and his beautiful nanny.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about family life. What challenges does your family face in staying connected in today's busy world? How do you ensure that you make time for each other? What activities do you enjoy together? How does technology (cell phones, Internet) make it easier for you to stay in touch?

  • Kids: Which characters in this show are good role models? What qualities do you admire in them? Who are your personal role models? How do they inspire you to be your best?

  • Do you think stereotyping is an issue in this show? If so, which characters are affected and how? Does this affect your enjoyment of the show? Do you think it sends questionable messages?

TV details

Premiere date:September 30, 2011
Cast:Debby Ryan, Kevin Chamberlin, Peyton List
Network:Disney Channel
Topics:Brothers and sisters
TV rating:TV-G

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Teen, 14 years old Written byaquaprincess November 12, 2011

Here is a very long, honest review about Jessie.

Disney's humor can only be described with few simple words: Stupid. Stereotypical. Sarcastic. Shallow. These three words have shaped today's Disney, from Shake It Up to A.N.T. Farm to Jessie. There are many things I can say about this show, from the annoying eleven-year-old to the little seven-year-old, from Bertram the butler to Mr. Kipling. But let me just list it. 1. Bras. They talk about this in a forced way, as if trying to be inappropriate. Why? Why do they need to talk about bras? What's the point? What's the need? Do they find this humorous? (This goes under Stupid humor). 2. Jessie. This woman is eighteen years old. Eighteen. What is she doing as a nanny to four kids? Why isn't she at college? What kind of example is she setting? When I was seven, I thought college was like school- you're absolutely required to go. What if there's another seven year old somewhere in the world that thinks the same thing? And they see this eighteen year old character who's not going to college? What will they think then? "Wait, I don't have to go and study. I can just become a nanny!" What else can Jessie do with her life? She was offered this position and took it in less than ten minutes. She knew almost nothing about the family, except for what she'd read in magazines about these rich people. (This goes under Shallow). 3. Richness. This doesn't have to do much with Jessie, but it does have to do with Disney Channel. So bras aren't a forbidden subject, but money is? Every single character in every Disney show gets everything they want, without even thinking about money! Sure, in Good Luck Charlie they work to make money, and they do talk about affording things sometimes, but generally everyone in Disney shows can get EVERYTHING THEY WANT. What is this? What about children who can't? How about a show about a child who doesn't have money or fame or excessive talent? What about a simple show that kids can relate to? (This goes under Shallow). 4. Emma. This girl absolutely drives me insane. She is the reason- she, this character- is the reason- that parents everywhere are becoming speechless at the rude things their children are saying to them. The attitude, the sarcasm. The kids crying because they think it's normal. After all, Emma says the most horrible things to Jessie and Bertram, and not once does she get told off. No, instead they just roll their eyes while a laugh track plays. In the description, on the website, they describe her as "sweet and motivated". Sweet and motivated? I know sweet and motivated. Emma is not sweet and motivated. Another thing that irritates me about Emma is what she learns. In every episode, she could do something wrong: devours teenage magazines, tries to be a friend of a snob, et cetera, and then she always learns her lesson. Lessons aren't supposed to be this shallow. Where is the character growth? Emma is a pathetic waste of time and space! (This goes under stupid, shallow, and sarcastic.) 5. Ravi. And this one really hits me hard. Because Ravi is Indian, yes. Ravi has been adopted recently, yes. But I have never met an Indian that yells, "Great Ganesh! I am a human samosa!" There's only one word for this and that word is 'Insulting'. He talks about different Indian foods, different Indian animals, and bluntly throws around things about the Hindu religion. At some moments, he sounds like he lived in a village or a jungle, in another in New Delhi. What is this absolute junk? India isn't a bunched up place of everything it's known for! Would Disney Channel EVER throw the word 'Jesus' around? No, of course not! So what gives them the right to throw the word 'Ganesh' about? Or 'Kali'? What gives them the right to mock the Indian culture? What on Earth gives them the right to so bluntly stereotype? Is this what they want in a child's mind? That people in a certain culture are all the same? (This files under 'Stereotypical'. 5. School. Do these children even GO to school? I have never seen them once go to school, except for Emma's science fair. And speaking of her science fair, what WAS that? She created a model of the solar system and read off a clipboard. Is that really a sixth-grade science fair? Yes or no? So they must be in school, and if they are, why do they have such interesting lives? Don't they have homework? (This goes under 'Stupid', of course.) 6. Luke. Luke is annoying, full of sexual jokes and hits on an 18-year-old. Please get somebody your own age. He always acts like he's the coolest person in the world. Now, if I was in Luke's grade, I would hate him. I would hate him to a point where he'd be an enemy of mine. Even Emma is not as ridiculously obnoxious as Luke. (This goes under 'Shallow'.) 7. Zuri. There are two things that really frustrates me about Zuri is that she wears makeup, and it's not stage makeup. It's eyeliner and mascara, and it's clearly visible. She is supposed to be seven! Should seven-year-old girls wear makeup? Why should they? Young, fresh, cute- what is the point of wearing makeup? Makeup was made in order for women to hide their flaws. Now it's just being created so it can be cheaply advertised to middle-schoolers, so they can look older. Now it's being advertised to seven year olds, as well? Why? Why would they wear it? The other thing that frustrates me about Zuri is how incredibly rude she is. And it looks fake. It looks as if she's a sweet girl, yet she learned how to be rude. It looks like she got her rudeness from a Disney Channel show. What is being promoted here? (Shallow, sarcastic) 8. Mr. Kipling. I beg of you, Disney Channel. Take Mr. Kipling off the show and have Ravi mourn him. Everything he does looks as if someone's dubbed it in. He cannot move that fast. He just looks too sluggish. He cannot eat people. He looks like he's the size of an iguana. (Stupid). 9. Tony. I don't know much about Italy, but I know he's trying to be forced into a New York-Italian stereotype. He always has pastas with names I've never heard. I can't say much about him, though, because I don't know much about Italy. Or New York. (Stereotypical.) 10. Jessie's "Texas Guys" song. I have just one question: WHAT'S WRONG WITH TEXAS GUYS? Honestly? You can't sing that song! There are thousands of guys in Texas! Not all of them are the kinds that you pick, Jessie! That is judgmental and a developing stereotype. (Stereotypical). Under the 'What Should Other Families Know About..." column, why does it not say 'Stereotypes'? Or 'Bad Role Models'? Or 'Negative Messages'? Or 'The Exact Opposite of Educational'? Because that's what I give Jessie. That's what I'd like to give Jessie.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent Written bymotherofthreeunder10 October 26, 2011

"Jessie" NOT tween-appropriate

I was shocked that this show was on the Disney Channel. It is geared toward and advertised to tweens. There were three major no-no's in my book in a single episode and we won't be watching this show again. 1. 10-ish boy (Luke) says to 12-ish girl (Emma) "I can't believe I get credit for taking pictures of cute girls." Emma responds, "The assignment is to take pictures of New York's flora and fauna." Luke answers, "I hope those are hot Latin twins." Jessie asks him, "Do you have an 'off' button?" Luke raises his eyebrows and says, "Yes...wanna come find it?" 2. Nasty neighbor (Mrs. Chesterfield) tells her dog, "Give me a kiss." The dog licks her face, which in itself is not bad, but it goes on for a LONG time and she opens her mouth while the dog is licking her lips. In the background the doorman yells, "Hey! No PDA in the lobby!" 3. 6-ish girl (Zuri) tell Jessie that her imaginary frenemy has ripped the head off Zuri's doll. She then adds, "You should see what she did to my Build-a-Baboon! Now he'll never have children!" What is the most disturbing about #1 and #3 is that there are YOUNG children saying these things. And the show wasn't even that funny. The acting was terrible.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byawesome1012 October 23, 2011

Way too inappropriate!

The only reason that I rated this ok for kids 10 and up is because kids probably won't get the sexual jokes, but they are still there. For example: jessie: do you have an off button?! little boy: why don't you try and find it *wink* or....... little girl: my (imaginary) friend hurt my monkey! now he'll never have kids! and this isn't really sexual content, I just stopped watching it after this, I was really offended: older girl: look my new leopard beat magazine! they have an article on bra stuffing, "socks or napkins?"! jessie: the answer is neither.......its two ply toilet paper *smiles mischievously* that just was horrible, they were PROMOTING NEGATIVE body image to girls as young as six! that is why i stopped even watching it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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