What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this show portrays a diverse group of teen girls as strong, positive role models. Also, boy-girl crushes are addressed, but in a lighthearted, puppy-dog-love kind of way; there's some kissing, but nothing more. On the negative side, some of the girls can be catty and say mean things to each other.
What's the story?
In JUST FOR KICKS, Nickelodeon's soccer-themed series for tweens and young teens (and executive produced in part by Whoopi Goldberg), four high school girls from diverse backgrounds try out for an elite New York City soccer team called the Power Strikers. Alexa (Francesca Catalano), an attractive and popular cheerleader, must deal with her snooty friends' contempt and lack of understanding when she ditches cheerleading for soccer. Less-popular tomboy Freddie (Mallory Low), who's convinced that the very "girly" Alexa doesn't belong on a soccer team, must get over her preconceived notions about Alexa and admit that the other girl is a nice person and a good player. Overachiever Lauren (Katija Pevec) is distracted from her training when she develops a crush on Alexa's older brother. And outspoken leader Vida (Jessica Williams) butts heads with team captain Dana and realizes she needs to smooth things over for the good of the team. The unlikely foursome eventually become fast friends and coach one another through the many issues that plague 14-year-olds -- from acne and flat chests to first crushes and overbearing parents.
Is it any good?
Although the general themes in Just for Kicks are nothing new, it's refreshing to see a tween/teen-oriented series that focuses on a sport -- especially one that puts girls in the spotlight. At times, the show seems unduly focused on all the sniping that occurs among the girls; this is probably realistic to some degree and works to set up the heartwarming reconciliations, but it's a bit hard to take when the cattiness runs rampant.
Also, the script is rather flimsy and the acting weak at times; most of the parents, in particular, are two-dimensional and unremarkable. That said, the four lead actresses are likable enough that viewers will definitely want to find out what happens to their characters next -- and their swift soccer moves are convincing enough to make anyone want to go out and kick a ball around.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the series' central female characters. What do you think of the way they're portrayed? Can you relate to them? What do you like or not like about them? Another discussion topic could be women in sports. Why do you think there are fewer movies or shows about women's sports than men's sports? Which women's sports would you like to see featured in a movie or TV show?