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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 K.C. Undercover stars Disney megastar Zendaya as a newcomer to her parents' world of secret spy work, so kids who already know her talents will want to check out these new adventures. There's some karate-style fighting plus gadgets such as a laser-gun lipstick tube and high heels that disassemble into throwing weapons, but injuries typically aren't visible. Body humor (farts, mostly), bare chests on teen guys (thanks to X-ray glasses, of course), and some mild social meanness are in play. K.C.'s family is very close, but they sometimes poke fun at her younger brother because he doesn't live up to his older sister's success. Because she leads a double life, K.C. frequently lies to her best friend to keep their secret safe.
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What's the story?
K.C. Cooper (Zendaya) is an overachieving high school genius and a martial arts expert who's shocked to learn that her parents, Craig (Kadeem Hardison) and Kira (Tammy Townsend), are spies for a government agency called the Organization. When they recruit her to join them, K.C. discovers that conquering calculus doesn't necessarily translate to excellence in the spying field, and she has her work cut out for her if she wants to excel at it. Her most difficult challenge will be keeping the secret from her best friend, Marisa (Veronica Dunne), who's relentless in her efforts to rescue K.C.'s social life. Along with her parents and her younger siblings, Ernie (Kamil McFadden) and a humanoid robot named Judy (Trinitee Stokes), K.C. endeavors to complete her missions, maintain her grades, and maybe even enjoy the occasional school dance.
Is it any good?
Disney multitalented Zendaya lends her considerable skills to the somewhat underachieving spy-comedy series K.C. UNDERCOVER. The plot is hardly a new concept, and the show's 30-minute time frame limits the stories' complexity, making the action -- and the jokes -- predictable for all but very young viewers. There are some funny moments as K.C. assumes different personas on the job or when she tries out some of the cool gadgets she gets to use, but these are bright spots in an otherwise anticlimactic show.
That said, there's nothing inherently bad about K.C. Undercover's content, and even the action sequences aren't likely to worry kids, so it's a safe choice for those making the move from animated shows to "big kid" comedies. Those who do watch will find a lot to admire in K.C., who's both book- and street-smart, a critical thinker, and always graceful under pressure. The fact that she's close to her family is another positive quality. Your family's shared hobby might not be saving the world, but it's a good reminder of the value of finding common ground and spending quality time together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the family's teamwork. What individual skills does each member bring to the group? How do these help them work collectively?
Why does K.C. lie to Marisa about her role as a spy? Kids: Do you think there are occasions when dishonesty is OK? Would your parents agree with you about them? Why do we have rules at home? In our communities?
Were your kids familiar with Zendaya's work before watching this show? If so, did knowing her encourage their interest? How does her character in this series compare to others she's played?
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