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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 Kirstie is a sitcom starring Kirstie Alley and aimed at middle-aged viewers. Traditional sitcom-style mockery means that many sensitive subjects are played for laughs: parental obligations, casual sex, drugs. Main character Maddie Banks drinks and smokes onscreen and apparently uses drugs offscreen, which are referred to blithely. There is some mild cursing ("damn," "crap"), and some language about sex and body parts. Banks also struggles with eating and her weight; there are many jokes poking fun at her body and what she eats. Teens may find it tough to relate to the show, and parents may not want them to hear the jokes about sex and drugs.
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What's the story?
Decades ago, KIRSTIE's Maddie Banks (Kirstie Alley) made a choice: She gave up her son to pursue a career on Broadway. Now she's successful and famous, but she lives an empty life surrounded by people she pays to care for her, including louche driver Frank (Michael Richards) and harried but maternal personal assistant Thelma (Rhea Perlman). That is, until son Arlo knocks on her door. He wasn't the kind of guy that Banks expected her son to be -- he works at a doughnut shop and spends his time at Civil War reenactments. But despite Arlo's limitations (and her own), Banks thinks she might be able to make a go of this mother thing.
Is it any good?
Aimed at the older female demographic who love Alley both for her work on classic comedies like Cheers as well as her outsized personality and tabloid omnipresence, Kirstie leans heavily on the charms of its star. Luckily, the ebullient Alley is up to the task, dispensing self-deprecating wisecracks about her appetites, sexual and otherwise, with seasoned skill. She's fine with being the butt of jokes about corned beef sandwiches and bags of weed that need to be secreted at the airport, and both Perlman and Richards deliver the punchlines nicely.
The goings-on are sitcom-y and hardly fresh: Doors are slammed in faces, spit-takes are dealt out, doughnut fights occur. But the great cast pulls it off, and even cynical watchers may find themselves chuckling mildly. The same viewers who enjoy TV Land's other comedies, particularly Hot in Cleveland, will find this equally appealing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what kind of character Kirstie Alley plays. Is the audience supposed to like her? Find her funny or depressing? Are we supposed to relate to her? Admire her? Look down on her?
Kirstie is an original show on TV Land, a network known for shows like Hot in Cleveland and Retired at 35. What kind of demographic do you think TV Land is going for? How does Kirstie fit into this landscape?
Do you know anything about Kirstie Alley's private life or history in pop culture? Do you think Kirstie toys with the actress' public image?