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My Wife and Kids
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 sitcom is based in contemporary upper-class suburbia and focuses on a "traditional" father in a non-traditional world. The parents are always making jokes about their sex life, and the father and son joke about owning porn. Some families will find the show funny, while others may find it offensive. Episodes often deal with heavy issues like teen pregnancy, drug use, and body image. The effect, however, is that of a show that doesn't take itself seriously.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Though it's a madcap comedy, MY WIFE AND KIDS' comic formula centers on one family's dynamic. Mom Janet (Tisha Campbell) is the breadwinner and sets the rules, dad Michael (Damon Wayans) is the caregiver and the loose screw, son Michael Jr. (George Gore II) is a dolt, elder daughter Claire (played by both Jazz Raycole and Jennifer Freeman) is a clumsy beauty, and youngest daughter Kady (Parker McKenna Posey) is smart and sassy. The family members constantly gang up on each other before sharing advice and love at the end of the show.
Is it any good?
What happens in between the teasing and the advice-giving is where the series goes awry. Serious issues like teen pregnancy, fears about social acceptance, drug use, body image, and placing value on a spouse's contribution to the household are mixed in with ridiculous behavior such as slaps, threats, and angry outbursts. The issues themselves are often glossed over, and the fact that they're addressed at all shouldn't overshadow the reality that the adults might handle them poorly. Janet and Michael admonish their kids' chaotic behavior at the same time that they exhibit very childish behavior themselves -- it might be difficult for tweens and young teens to understand what's meaningless banter and what's inappropriate behavior.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between the kids and their parents. Is it over the top or realistic? The family members also tease each other a lot. You might want to ask your kids if casual violence is ever funny or appropriate, or if teasing or being teased by family members is OK.