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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the classic 1990s series Party of Five features themes that are common to teen dramas, including sexual activity, smoking, and drinking, as well as show-specific issues like coping with the death of parents. Over time, themes like infidelity and marriage are also addressed. Most of the stories result in positive, teachable moments, which can be cheesy but are always heartfelt. Occasionally arguments are visible. Throughout it all, the importance of family is highlighted.
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What's the story?
The popular classic series PARTY OF FIVE (1994-2000) tells the story of a close family of siblings forced to make it on their own. When the Salinger parents die in a car accident, their 24-year-old son, Charlie (Matthew Fox), is given guardianship of his brothers and sisters, including teenagers Bailey (Scott Wolf) and Julia (Neve Campbell), precocious preteen Claudia (Lacey Chabert), and infant brother Owen (Andrew and Steven Cavarno, and played later by Jacob Smith). Now living by themselves in their San Francisco family home, they have to work together and manage a very adult life in order to avoid getting split up.
Is it any good?
This Golden Globe-winning teen drama offers lots of angsty moments as the cast struggles to grow up under difficult circumstances. The show's stories frequently contain life lessons about things like sex, drinking, and other teen-oriented issues. However, it distinguishes itself by featuring young people having to proactively negotiate some extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and shows how working as a family allows them to do so in ways that are both positive and meaningful.
Party of Five has a very '90s vibe to it, which will potentially make it feel sappy and dated to a new generation of viewers. But viewers old and new may find the younger versions of some popular actors, including folks who appeared in later seasons, like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Scott Grimes, kind of fun. Nonetheless, if you were a fan of the show when it originally aired, watching it again offers a nostalgic experience that will probably make you smile.
Talk to your kids about ...
Do you think making shows like Party of Five and other '90s classics available to watch online will lead to new fans? Or is the purpose to reignite former viewers' interest in them?
- Premiere date: September 12, 1994
- Cast: Matthew Fox, Neve Campbell, Scott Wolf
- Networks: Hulu, Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, High School
- Character strengths: Communication, Compassion, Gratitude, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Award: Golden Globe
- Last updated: November 15, 2019
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