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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 -- just like its parent show -- this Grey’s Anatomy spin-off is intended for adults and explores a variety of mature themes like drug use, mental illness, incest, and homosexuality to keep its content fresh. Characters have tangled love lives, and many have slept with multiple partners within the office, so sex is a common discussion point and sexy scenes show making out, some partial nudity (backs, cleavage, etc.), and brief simulated sex. Some storylines center on violent acts like rape and assault, and surgical scenes are similarly bloody. That said, the show brings to light complicated real-life issues and attempts to present their many sides, encouraging viewers to ponder them and draw their own conclusions of right and wrong with relation to them.
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What's the story?
PRIVATE PRACTICE is a spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy that centers on the staff of Oceanside Wellness Center, a cooperative private medical facility in Los Angeles where patients are treated by some of the best doctors in specialties ranging from pediatrics to homeopathic care. Noted obstetrician and neonatal surgeon Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) heads up the practice that was started by her best friend, Dr. Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald) and Naomi’s ex-husband, Dr. Sam Bennett (Taye Diggs). The patient cases these doctors handle are almost as complicated as their own personal lives, ensuring that things are never dull around the water cooler at this busy medical practice.
Is it any good?
Private Practice is an enticing series that’s equal parts medical drama and soap opera. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the intricacies of the characters’ complicated lives, and their revolving workplace romances keep things, well, lively. Smart writing and a talented cast enable the show to handle the intense, real-life subject matter it explores, and the fact that it makes a concerted effort to present weighty issues like mental illness, homosexuality, and addiction from multiple viewpoints gives viewers plenty to ponder after it’s turned off.
Of course, it’s this same content that rules it out as an option for any but the sturdiest viewers, since it doesn’t shy away from violence, sexual content, or raw human emotion. Life-and-death scenarios are commonplace throughout the show, and plenty of characters die. It’s the show’s adherence to sticking closely to reality (with the expected amount of melodrama) that gives it merit for adults but at the same time makes it problematic for most teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this series portrays women. After seeing Naomi, Addison, Violet, and Charlotte in action, whom do you admire most? The least? Are these women’s personal lives very different from their professional ones? How do these doctors compare onscreen to their male counterparts?
This series raises tough questions about real-life issues, so families can discuss how the characters cope with the challenges they encounter. How do the characters’ different opinions complicate their ability to reach a consensus about caring for patients? When have you been in a situation where you’ve had to work with others whose opinions were different from yours? How do you best cope with group dynamics under pressure?
How does this series compare to Grey’s Anatomy? Both are medical dramas, but do the characters handle issues in a similar fashion? Do the two seem to compete or can like-minded series coexist on TV? Does either series seem to adhere more to reality?