Kickin' It

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Kickin' It TV Poster Image
So-so comedy offers tweens some worthwhile messages.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 44 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 friendship and self-confidence.

Positive messages

A mixed bag. On one hand, the stories center on themes like self-confidence and teamwork, and the characters find that despite their individual limitations, they make a powerful adversary when they join forces. But on the other, stereotyping abounds (school bullies, outsiders, and popular kids), and there's a lot of potty humor, including vomiting (it's heard but not seen), burping, references to farting, and talk about pooping. Bullying takes different forms, from school pranks to threats of posting embarrassing photos to the Internet, but the instigators always get their due at the hands of the heroes.

Positive role models & representations

The show's best role model is Jack, who has fairly high moral standards for himself and is able to stand up for his friends against peer pressure. Although the characters' actions are sometimes troubling (breaking and entering a security office to steal a computer file, for instance), their motivations are usually on track, and they champion the underdogs in every scenario. Adults are mostly absent, and the few who do appear often are the witless victims of the teens' plots. 

Violence & scariness

Martial arts-style fighting both inside the dojo and out in the real world. Slapstick comedy implies that the characters suffer blows to the groin and other injuries, but nothing lasts. Collisions, crashes, and falls are obviously staged and mostly harmless.

Sexy stuff

Teens tease each other in a flirtatious way, and a boy pesters a girl about having a crush on him. In at least one scene, a character mentions being traumatized by finding out where babies come from.

Language

Some use of "butt" and name-calling like "loser."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series is geared toward tweens and centers on positive themes like self-confidence and teamwork. Kids will enjoy the karate sequences, which feature some impressive acrobatics as well as some slapstick comedy. There's little in the way of negative content, although it's worth reminding tweens that the characters' mostly adults-free lifestyle is hardly realistic. Teen relationships are limited to flirting, and instances of bullying (mostly related to schoolyard pranks, although at least one instance raises the issue of cyberbullying) are easily resolved by the teens within the 30-minute time limit. Expect a fair bit of potty humor, too.

User Reviews

Adult Written bylc1967 November 22, 2011

Its a pass

The show does have some positive themes, particularly loyalty. But there's doesn't need to be so much innuendo. I was particularly upset when someon...
Parent of a 6 and 7 year old Written bycrizeliz September 14, 2013

More characters with no redeeming value, courtesy of Disney.

More preteen rubbish from Disney. Like most of the programs of this genre, this program portrays absurd and unhealthy relationships between male and female cha...
Kid, 11 years old June 18, 2011

Karate Students Can Relate

Ok, so I'm the first one to post my review for "Kickin' It." It's a very funny show about teens who go to karate. My brother and I both...
Kid, 9 years old July 6, 2011

DISNEY IS INNOCENT!!! :)

:) I LOVE THIS SHOW!!! Its funny! But, the launguge, isnt very great for little(er) ones. Ex. brat, butt, jerk,etc. But, for kids that can handle these words...

What's the story?

KICKIN’ IT is a comedy series about a group of friends who use their martial arts skills and the lessons they learn from the sport to navigate the uncertainties of teen life. At center is Jack (Leo Howard), a self-confident skater type who reluctantly joins a subpar dojo called the Bobby Wasabi Martial Arts Academy after meeting the students at his school. The academy has different significance in the lives of ragtag members Jerry (Mateo Arias), Milton (Dylan Riley Snyder), and Eddie (Alex Christian Jones), but when Jack arrives, they all hope his skills will help give the place a sense of prestige. Under the direction of the sensei, Rudy (Jason Earles), and with newcomer Kim (Olivia Holt) on board, this unlikely team is ready to take on the world.

Is it any good?

Kickin’ It attempts to woo the coveted tween set with silly comedy, extreme characters, and impressive martial arts sequences, but on content quality, it's a bit of a lightweight. Everything from the oddball array of teen characters to the crazy predicaments in which they find themselves feels a little forced, and parents will notice (although tweens probably won't) that the absence of responsible adults leaves the teens to their own devices most of the time. This set-up makes for plenty of fun times, but it's hardly a realistic reflection of its viewers' lives.

 

That's not to say that the show is all bad. The karate sequences are fun to watch, and the show's humor is undeniable despite its fantastical nature. It even manages to work in some positive messages about being a good friend, trusting teammates, and having confidence in yourself. Jack in particular is a likable character, since he stands up to peer pressure and takes the lead in steering his friends in a mostly ethical direction. The bottom line? It's not destined to be a classic, but the show's intended messages are sound, even if the presentation is lacking.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about teamwork. What qualities are important in a good team member? How does being part of a team enhance people's individual talents and skills? What makes someone a strong leader?

  • Kids: What aspects of this series seem realistic to you? Which ones don't? Do you like this show's style of exaggerated comedy? In what ways is your life different from the characters'?

  • Did you see instances of bullying in this show? If so, who did the bullying? Who was the victim? How did the experience affect those involved? Have you ever witnessed bullying? What can you do to stop it from happening?

TV details

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