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 No Good Nick is a Netflix series about a teen who cons a family into taking her in by posing as a hard-luck relative, all while plotting to swindle them out of lots of money. The enigmatic show casts Nick (Siena Agudong) as a genuinely likable, sympathetic figure who's been victimized by the adults in her life, even as she schemes against the kind people who welcome her into their home. This makes the series a somewhat complicated watch, despite the moments of levity related to family dynamics and the otherwise sitcom-y feel. While violence isn't shown on-screen, it's implied at times, most notably in a scene where a man's face is bloodied and his arm is in a cast after what's implied was a beatdown for financial default. This show's decidedly dark themes, occasional salty language, teen romance, and adult drinking make it a more appropriate watch for tweens and up than for younger viewers.
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What's the story?
NO GOOD NICK opens with the surprise arrival of 13-year-old Nick (Siena Agudong) on the doorstep of the well-to-do Thompson family's home. Claiming to be a distant relative and recent orphan, Nick soon reveals (to the audience) that she's actually a cunning con artist hoping to dupe the Thompsons out of money for some long-held, unspecified grudge. Coached by her actual foster parents, Sam (Ted McGinley) and Dorothy (Molly Hagan), Nick proves quite adept at manipulating her new guardians, Ed (Sean Astin) and Liz (Melissa Joan Hart), and their teenage daughter, Molly (Lauren Lindsey Donzis). Only Molly's brother, Jeremy (Kalama Epstein), harbors suspicion about Nick's real motivations. As time goes by and Nick settles into the Thompson home, keeping up the ruse becomes more complicated, and the stakes for doing so get even higher.
Is it any good?
Packaged as a sitcom but involving some darker themes, this series takes time to gain traction and build intrigue. The characters' chemistry doesn't impress right off the bat, and despite her efforts to ensure otherwise, the many holes in Nick's story practically beg discovery from the all-too-naïve Thompsons. As her foster parents multitask to help cover her lies and cons and as another shadowy figure pulls strings from the background, a lot is left unresolved. Eventually viewers' persistence is rewarded with a plot that becomes more enticing as it plays out.
No Good Nick benefits from a veteran crew of actors and actresses, both among the adults and the teens. This is bound to help boost audience counts initially and really helps sell an unusual plot that otherwise might struggle to get off the ground. With so many familiar faces, No Good Nick makes for a fun, outside-the-box watch for families with tweens and teens, and its surprisingly frequent heartwarming moments emphasize the emotional rewards to come of close relationships in traditional and nontraditional families.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes Nick a sympathetic character, despite her nefarious motives. In what ways is she a product of her upbringing? How does being manipulated by adults make her think differently than you might about doing the same to other innocent people? How does her experience with her new family change her feelings about conning them? Is she a definitively good or bad role model?
What character strengths do you see in Nick? What accounts for her ability to persevere through a difficult childhood? Does she use what she's learned for good? What, if any, positive effects does her presence have on the Thompson family?
This series presents two starkly different images of adults in Liz and Ed juxtaposed with Sam, Dorothy, and Tony. How do the two types of influence sway Nick's behavior? In what way do the two different sides create conflict in her emotions? Is she able to resolve this feeling in a constructive way?
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