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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lab Rats is a fun-filled show that has cross-generational appeal thanks to a talented cast, clever writing, and a unique storyline that's as much about the adults as it is the kids. The series is a comedy at heart, but it also mixes in some worthwhile themes about relationships, responsibility, and coping with change. All of the characters evolve to adapt to their new family structure, and the journey isn't without its bumps, but they work through their problems together. Strong adult role models, unpredictable bionic mishaps, and positive messages about embracing individuality round out this fun choice for families.
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What's the story?
LAB RATS is a comedy series about a charismatic but socially downtrodden teen named Leo (Tyrel Jackson Williams), who finds three bionic teens living in a secret lair in his inventor stepdad's house. Eager to befriend them, Leo offers to show them around the outside world, beginning with the unpredictable halls of his high school, where they unwittingly help his social status. When his stepdad, Donald (Hal Sparks), discovers the security breach, he fears for the safety of Adam (Spencer Boldman), Bree (Kelli Berglund), and Chase (Billy Unger) should their secret get out or, worse yet, should they lose control of their still-developing powers. Unfortunately, now that the teens have gotten a taste of real life, they're not willing to let it go, so Donald and Leo's mom, Tasha (Angel Parker), settle in for the long haul and take in the three superhumans as their own kids, glitches and all.
Is it any good?
Lab Rats is a truly family-friendly show that's almost as appealing for parents as it is for kids. It's a winning mix of the silly antics kids love and great messages about how family members relate to each other and why mutual trust and communication are important. The teens' bionic abilities raise some unique challenges, but ultimately this family tackles similar issues to the ones yours does: sibling rivalry, coping with feeling different, following family rules, and balancing the demands of parenthood.
It's easy to let your imagination run wild in a home that's filled with high-tech inventions, where interactive TV that lets you catch a home run ball in a major league park or a quick-witted "smart" house computer becomes a part of the family. What won't run wild, however, are these four teens. They're not perfect -- even the genetically engineered ones -- but they speak their mind, they learn from their mistakes, and they reflect the strong bonds that exist even within nontraditional families.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about family rules. How do your family's rules reflect your values? Do you understand the reasons for the rules you have? How do they change as you get older? What are the consequences for breaking those rules?
Kids: What characteristics set you apart from your siblings and your peers? What are some of your favorite aspects about yourself? If you could change one thing, what would it be? If you could have a super power, which one would you want?
In what ways does the family on Lab Rats reflect yours? What do you think defines a family? How is your family a source of comfort and strength for you?
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