Party of Five

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Party of Five TV Poster Image
Worthy Latinx reboot of '90s classic has drinking, sex.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Strong messages of teamwork and self-control predominate, as the drama rewards its characters for pulling together and keeping the family fed, clothed, housed, and happy. The human cost of immigration policies is clear, but characters don't talk about politics. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Acosta family is tight-knit and close; even with Gloria and Javier absent, they stay in touch, say they love each other, and provide emotional support. Though Emilio, Beto, and Lucia are afraid of their obligations ("I don't know how to raise a baby or be a parent to a 12-year-old," says Lucia), each makes sacrifices for the greater good of their family. Characters are not without flaws: Lucia is rebellious, Beto can be lazy at school, and Emilio is something of a womanizer. Most of the cast is Latinx, and Spanish is spoken frequently. 


Violence is rare, but there are upsetting scenes like one in which the Acosta parents are dragged forcibly away by uniformed ICE officials as their grade-school daughter cries "Mami! Papi!"  


Kissing and references to casual sex. A young woman doesn't mind Emilio no remembering her name "As long as you know it tomorrow morning." A female character is in detention because she "hooked up" with another girl in the bathroom at school. A young woman is called Emilio's "flavor of the month" but he flirtatiously signs the breasts of another woman at a club (we don't see it happen). 


Language and cursing includes "s--t," "hell," "bulls--t," "goddamn," "ass." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink at parties; beers are visible in hands, and in one scene they chant "Drink! Drink! Drink!" at a partygoer. When an adult enters, he's asked "Are you the weed guy?" A character smokes something at a party but it's unclear what. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, like the original '90s series it reboots, Party of Five is a drama about five kids, ranging from a twentysomething to a baby, who are left without their parents. This time around, though, the parents don't die; they're deported to Mexico. Expect to see scenes in which parents are forcibly pulled away from their kids as a young girl screams for her mom and dad. All of that may be alarming for younger viewers and could spark family conversations about immigration law and the toll it takes on individuals and families. But characters aren't in danger of going hungry or becoming homeless, and though the older kids must make sacrifices to care for their younger siblings, they also have resources and are up to the task. Romance is a strong element of the show's drama; expect love triangles (some with same-sex attractions), flirting, dating, kissing, and references to casual sex. Teens drink at a party without consequences. At another party, a character is asked by a teen if he's the "weed guy," and a partygoer smokes something (it's hard to tell what). Language is infrequent but includes "s--t," "hell," "bulls--t," "goddamn," and "ass." Most of the cast members are Latinx, and they speak Spanish frequently. Tight-knit family relationships anchor the drama, and though characters aren't without flaws, they also show teamwork and self-control in pulling together to make their family work while separated. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychrisdye8920 January 10, 2020

beautiful tear jerking family drama for older famiys

so im gonna warn you first hand a big part of the show is about a familys parents being deported to mexico but however this program does have a sweet heart and... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAlice the wolf January 14, 2020


I love that it is trying to tell us to stop with the border, and stop hurting immagrants.
Teen, 15 years old Written byytesme January 10, 2020

What's the story?

Based on the family drama of the same name that ran from 1994 to 2000, PARTY OF FIVE the reboot shifts the story's action from San Francisco to Los Angeles, where the Acosta family is ripped apart when ICE raids the family's restaurant. When Javier (Bruno Bichir) and Gloria (Fernanda Urrejola) emigrated to the United States from Mexico, they didn't exactly do it legally. So now they've been deported, leaving their five children to fend for themselves until the family can find a way to be together again. In his early twenties, Emilio (Brandon Larracuente) has to step into his parents' shoes to run the restaurant, while teen twins Lucia (Emily Tosta) and Beto (Niko Guardado) have to pick up the slack at home for 12-year-old Valentina (Elle Paris Legaspi) and their infant brother Rafael. 

Is it any good?

The original remains a '90s classic for its silly-yet-sincere plotlines and crush-worthy leads, and the reboot has the same appeal and a modern spin with the immigration setup. And since the elder Acostas are still alive (unlike the Salinger parents in the '90s version), there's plenty of drama to be milked from their absence: will the family be able to live together again? How? And how will it affect the kids to be living basically on their own, but have Mom and Dad peeking in via Skype to check their work? Still, though the scenes of Mom and Dad Acosta being torn from their kids are rightfully heartrending, this series would go nowhere if everything else wasn't up to snuff, but thankfully it is. 

It probably helps that original creators and writers Amy Lippman and Christopher Keyser are returning for this Party of Five; they've still got it, and viewers will find themselves gripped by storylines that would read as manipulative in less sure hands. Fans can expect a lot of the same complications to be found on other teen-heavy dramas (love triangles, conflicts at school, arguments about parties and late nights), but the sweet interplay between the Acosta family members, and the great weight of what their younger members have agreed to take on adds emotional heft to the proceedings, and makes it connect, with new fans and the already-converted. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why parents are often absent in stories about teens and young children. What types of storytelling would the presence of parents inhibit? What types of dilemmas do children and teens find themselves in when they must act as their own authority? Does Party of Five make its situation look challenging? Glamorous? Both? 

  • Did you watch the original Party of Five? How is this version different? What changes were made to the setting, storylines, characters? How did that change what we see on the screen? Why would the creators have made these changes? 

  • Families can talk about how the Acostas show teamwork and self-control in Party of Five. Why do you think these are important character strengths

TV details

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