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 sentimental drama deals with mature topics like extramarital sex, unknown parentage, drug and alcohol use, and career and family insecurities, making it somewhat iffy (and, frankly, probably unappealing) for younger viewers. Some scenes are set in a bar, where lots of drinking -- and at least one drunken fistfight -- takes place. Another scene shows 18-year-olds who have just had sex and includes some sexual discussion. Jokes about weight, intelligence, small towns, and more pepper the dialogue in a generally clever, ironic tone, but some viewers may be offended.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When 18-year-old Nick Garrett (Bryan Greenberg) goes to Europe, he promises his friends that he'll be back by summer's end. But 10 years later he's a successful novelist living in New York City, and he's never been back to his hometown -- nor has he spoken to those he left behind. OCTOBER ROAD chronicles Nick's return home and his attempt to mend the rifts caused by his disappearance, as well as the bad feelings he caused when he wrote disparagingly about his small town and its residents. His hometown crew includes some interesting characters, like a hermit who hasn't left his house since 9/11 and a quirky jokester who's having an affair with a married woman, as well as Garrett's left-behind girlfriend (That '70s Show's Laura Prepon).
Is it any good?
Although October Road has some witty banter that's well written and sometimes charming, much of it also seems contrived. The town itself is a bit fairytale-ish, too; it lacks the authenticity of another quirky prodigal-son drama, the movie Garden State. That said, October Road does have some appeal, especially in its smart literary references and nostalgia for the hard-rockin' 1990s.
Teens might enjoy some of the quirky characters, but much of the drama is so adult-oriented -- especially geared toward people in their late 20s and early 30s -- that younger viewers might not care very much. That's good, because with plenty of drinking, some fistfights, and some mildly sexual scenes, October Road is best suited for adults.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how accurately TV reflects reality, in this case and in general. Are dramas based on this kind of premise believable? How about the dialogue? Do you know people who talk like the characters on this show? Do any TV shows use truly realistic dialogue? Which ones? Families can also talk about hometowns. Do parents still live in the same area where they were raised? Why? Will younger viewers stay put after school, or move somewhere else? Why? What's it like to return to a place that you've been away from for a long time?