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 Malibu Rescue: The Series is a comedy series about a beach rescue team of teen underdogs and their challenges in the ritzy town of Malibu. The main characters hail from the Valley, a less well-to-do area than their work environment of Malibu, a place their self-important peers call home. Their contentious relationships are based on stereotypes and fostered by the adult leader of their Junior Rescue Program. There's a lot of verbal teasing and even some mild physical bullying, as when a rescuer cuts a victim's rope as he dangles from a cliff and forces him to make a promise before she will save him. Even adult leaders get in on the meanness, leaving the Valley kids feeling (understandably) like the world is against them. On the upside, they remain determined to reach their goal of succeeding as junior rescuers, and the adversity helps inspire their efforts to learn and grow. This series assumes that viewers have watched Malibu Rescue: The Movie, which first introduces the characters and their journey to the Junior Rescue Program, and it takes some time to get up to speed if they haven't.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
MALIBU RESCUE is the story of a team of junior beach rescuers who try to fit in among -- and ultimately outperform -- their snobby Malibu counterparts. When Tyler (Ricardo Hurtago), Gina (Breanna Yde), Lizzie (Abby Donnelly), and Eric (Alkoya Brunson) arrive to assume their post in the coast's Tower 2, their team leader, Dylan (Jackie R. Jacobson), has high hopes that the outsiders from the Valley can prove their worth to the other teams and impress the Junior Rescue Program leader, Gavin (Ian Ziering). But with other rescuers thwarting their best efforts at every turn and personnel issues even among themselves, that promises to be a monumental challenge.
Is it any good?
What initially hints at being an inspirational underdog story quickly devolves into a cesspool of teenage snarkiness and stereotyping that torpedoes the show. The Valley kids are at an immediate disadvantage in their new surroundings, and no one -- not even the adult director and supposed role model -- seems willing to give them a fair chance at success. As they steel themselves against the barrage of verbal taunts, cruddy tasks, and uppity behavior of their co-workers, Dylan and her crew struggle to fit in and excel.
Malibu Rescue: The Series misses a prime opportunity to foster positive themes of tolerance and fairness among teens in a show that's geared toward the tween set. Instead of showing its diverse characters overcoming their differences, it relegates them to stringent, one-dimensional attitudes and actions that sabotage any challenges to stereotypes. The bottom line? There are better picks for this age group than a show that presents teen and working relationships like this.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what Malibu Rescue: The Series seems to say about teens and stereotypes. Is it ever fair to judge someone by their hometown or background? If not, why is there an impulse to do so? How do you strive to overcome stereotypes that others might use to define you or that might lead you to judge others?
Which characters (if any) show a willingness to change toward tolerance in this story? Why is it important to respect diversity? When have you found differences among people to have a positive effect?
What examples of positive qualities like perseverance do you see in this story? Who stands out as a positive role model and why? Can negative role models be as instructive as positive ones?
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