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 this show is riddled with questionable teenage behavior, including underage drinking, sexual exploration, and blatant disobedience. Most of this behavior from the two main teen characters goes without any repercussion, as the dad seems to ignore it and the psychologist mom is too engrossed in her patients' issues to notice those of her kids. But the series does provide an insightful view of social disorders and highlights how society often misinterprets a variety of disorders as mental incapacities.
What's the story?
KYLE XY is the story of a 16-year-old unidentified boy who is found wandering naked in the woods and sent to a detention center. The mysterious "Kyle" (Matt Dallas) doesn't speak or seem to comprehend language, exhibits no instincts or emotions, and has no belly button. Psychologist Nicole Trager (Marguerite MacIntyre) takes Kyle into her home where he begins to make progress, learning to communicate by mimicking. While he knows nothing of his past or how to function in society, Kyles exhibits a savant-like brilliance. He eventually adapts to family life and earns the compassion of Nicole's husband, Stephen (Bruce Thomas), and her kids, Lori (April Matson) and Josh (Jean-Luc Bilodeau). As his language skills improve, anxious Kyle asks Nicole who he is. Unable to answer him, she vows to help him unlock his past. Perhaps in the process, she can also figure out the identity of the mysterious man who, unbeknownst to them, is stalking Kyle and the Tragers.
Is it any good?
Kyle XY's premise is intriguing, but viewers may find aspects disruptive to the overall mood. While Kyle apparently can't understand what's said to him, his voice-over narration shares his very intuitive thoughts. It's difficult to reconcile his perpetually bewildered expression with his ability to formulate thoughts and questions in response to people's actions. Plus, the speed with which he learns to communicate in full sentences (within a few days of being found) seems unrealistic, leaving the show feeling a bit far-fetched.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how people respond to those with mental and social disorders. When you encounter someone who's delayed, how do you react? Do you try to communicate with them, or do you simply walk away, frustrated that you don't know how? Parents also can discuss discipline with their teens. What can parents do to enforce their rules without hurting their relationships with their kids?