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 Liv and Maddie is a family friendly series that puts a comical spin on issues like sibling rivalry and life in a busy family. At center are twin sisters with opposing personalities, and their relationship is marked by moments of tension followed by displays of kind affection. Ultimately the message kids get from this content is that individuality shouldn't spell disaster for relationships among family or friends. As is true of most tween-targeted comedies, the show glosses over a lot, especially when it comes to teen issues, but that's what makes it a worry-free pick for kids.
What's the story?
Identical twins Liv and Maddie Rooney (both played by Dove Cameron) have been best friends their whole lives, but their relationship gets a little more complicated when TV star Liv moves back home to Wisconsin after four years in Hollywood filming a hit series. Polar opposite personalities are just the start of the differences between these two, and it doesn't help that social diva Liv can't resist stepping in to “help” her brainy, athletic sister any way she sees fit. Meanwhile, the twins' younger brothers, Joey (Joey Bragg) and Parker (Tenzig Norgay Trainor), enjoy the fact that the girls' drama keeps the spotlight off their antics; and the Rooney parents, Karen (Kali Rocha) and Pete (Benjamin King) attempt to keep tabs on the whole crew at home and at the twins' high school, where they both work.
Is it any good?
You can't expect a lot of depth from a tween sitcom set up for escapades of the identical twin nature and garden-variety teen girl drama. Factor in a couple of mischievous younger brothers who steal scenes with their comical scheming, and the constant story interruption of confessional-style asides with characters, and there's little time for really meaningful content.
That's not to say that your kids won't enjoy a visit to the Rooney home, and what they'll see and hear there won't strike a nerve with you since it's classically purified Disney fare. This is a place where mostly trivial problems play second fiddle to the funny stuff that's always going on, and solutions are easy to come by, but the characters do acknowledge the issues that arise and solve them. Sure, it oversimplifies a lot, but it also doesn't raise any issues that aren't age-appropriate for your kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this show's portrayal of the average family. Are the Rooneys a realistic representation of a modern family? How do their problems compare to yours? What does this show say about relationships between siblings? Between parents and kids?
Kids: What qualities about yourself set you apart from your friends or siblings? Why is it good to be unique? When is it not fun to stand out in a crowd?
Parents can talk to their kids about getting along with others, particularly within a family. How do you communicate your needs at home? How does it feel when someone hurts your feelings? What ways do you have for making up after a tiff?
Themes & Topics
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