Life with Boys

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Life with Boys TV Poster Image
Funny family sitcom with positive themes for tweens.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Each episode sees Tess coping with some malady of teen life, such as dating or dealing with being bullied by a peer. Her actions often wind up hurting other people, but she always learns a lesson and remedies the problem. A mean girl uses her popularity to manipulate her classmates, usually with more humor and less fallout than surround Tess' misjudgments. The show presents a well-adjusted single-parent home with a lot of sibling rivalry, but also a lot of love. Some mild bathroom humor like body odors.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tess isn't afraid to go against the flow, as is evident in her place on the school's predominantly male wrestling team and her battles of will with her social nemesis. She values meaningful relationships and respects her family, despite not always agreeing with them. Other characters are slightly less admirable, including an image-obsessed best friend and a coercive teen who uses popularity as a bargaining chip with peers.

Violence
Sex

Teen relationships have minimal kissing.

Language

"Butt" and stand-in curse words like "shming" are as strong as it gets. Kaylee calls Tess a "freak" because she's a wrestler.

Consumerism

Some cultural references like Project Runway and Lady Gaga.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Life with Boys is a funny family sitcom with strong themes about family relationships, friendship, and a positive self-esteem. The main character is a teen girl who laments the fact that she lives in an all-boy household, but the support of her brothers and dad proves to be one of her greatest strengths. Tess often makes less-than-admirable choices that wind up hurting others, but there's an obvious lesson in her actions when she sets things right again. Mild bathroom humor, stand-in swearing (a teen makes up her own expletives like "shming"), and some instances of bullying from a self-absorbed popularity queen don't detract from the positive content in this show.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMrCrocodile May 3, 2013

This show is a gem!

I really love Life With Boys. It is really a gem. It is the first show after so many years that gives people lessons about life. To me, this is what Girl Meets... Continue reading
Adult Written bysimonmbrooks June 19, 2014

Shallow

Although it is stated that this show displays good family values, the episode I saw (about getting a new bathroom) displayed the boys as ignorant and with no ca... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bylovzhisdad July 9, 2013

Nothing More Than An Insult to Boys.

Boys shouldn't be watching this because they'll be watching their own gender be portrayed as dim-witted, mean, crude, and sometimes even inconsiderate... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 18, 2013

good show for all the family

funny family sitcom for all the family the message of the show is that sure your family will annoy you but there always there for you

What's the story?

Fifteen-year-old Tess Foster (Torri Webster) is the lone female in a house full of guys, and the situation is fraught with pitfalls for a teen girl. There's her older brother, Gabe (Nathan McLeod), the school's heartthrob who loves to get under his sister's skin; her twin brother, Sam (Michael Murphy), who's academically superior and socially challenged; and her precocious younger brother, Spencer (Jake Goodman), who likes to be in the middle of things. Heading up the Foster crew is dad Jack (Sandy Jobin-Bevans), a widower, high school gym teacher, and Tess' wrestling coach, and sometimes even the biggest kid of them all. Living with her four best guys has its disadvantages, but Tess learns that when push comes to shove, they can also serve as a rock of strength.

Is it any good?

There are few surprises in LIFE WITH BOYS, a family-centered sitcom marked by laughable sibling spats (as when Tess discovers her brother uses the microwave to dry his underwear), true-to-life teen drama (the resident social queen uses and discards her peers with cruel consistency), and heartwarming exchanges between caring family members. Tess marches to the beat of her own drum, choosing to participate in an all-boy sport and locking horns with, but never backing down to, mean queen Kaylee (Francesca Martin), and ultimately she picks the right path of honesty and consideration for others. What's more, her relationship with fashion-obsessed best friend Allie (Madison Pettis) only accentuates the differences in their personalities, giving Tess more credence as the show's level-headed star.

Because Life with Boys puts so much emphasis on the lessons Tess learns from her mistakes and gives her imperfect but loyal family members an integral role in her positive self-image, it's a great choice for the tween set. The characters' actions aren't perfect, and some escape consequences that would exist in the real world, but if you focus on Tess' experiences, you'll see relatable cause-and-effect scenarios and enjoy the show's funny spin on the rollercoaster ride of modern family life.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about coping with bullies. Tweens: Do you ever see any behavior at school that you consider bullying? What recourse do you have against it? How has technology changed the nature of this kind of behavior?

  • This sitcom presents a well-adjusted single-parent home. In what ways does it reflect your family's home life? Do any aspects of the characters' lives seem improbable?

  • Tess' self-confidence is one of her standout qualities. What accounts for your inner strength? How does positive self-esteem help you cope with the challenges in your life?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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