Jessie

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Jessie TV Poster Image
Funny, family oriented series has some stereotyping.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 93 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 305 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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
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.

Language

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

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult 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 sing... Continue reading
Adult Written byHollyworld November 19, 2011

Unfunny, inappropriate show for kids

I'm disappointed in the CommoSense review of this show. I am careful but flexible with what I let my daughter watch, and she's seen PG and PG13 stuff... Continue reading
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, f... Continue reading
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... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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