Punky Brewster (2021)
Punky Brewster (2021)
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
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 Punky Brewster is a reboot of the classic 80s sitcom about a quirky orphan who finds a family. Still played by Soleil Moon Frye, Punky is now a freshly divorced mom of 4, including newly adopted Izzy. The reboot is more mature than the original show, with a lot more jokes and talk about sex and adult relationships, including online dating and a complicated divorce. Language is mild but kids talk frankly about teenage boys only caring about "boobs." Punky's ex-husband Travis (Freddie Prinze Jr.), is a charming musician that has some boundary issues post-divorce, and a character wonders if Punky is still "sleeping with" him. The show oversimplifies the adoption process and the foster system, which may be confusing for younger viewers. That said, Punky is presented as a soft-hearted, kind person who isn't a perfect mom or partner but is always willing to learn a lesson, just like her kid incarnation.
great leads in the show esp Hannah and Izzy.
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
PUNKY BREWSTER (Soleil Moon Frye) is now a successful photographer with a gaggle of her own adopted kids, both inspired by her beloved adoptive dad Henry (who is represented as a photo on the wall who characters sometimes talk to). Her savvy teen daughter Hannah (Lauren Lindsay Donis) is helping her learn online dating after a recent divorce with musician Travis (Freddie Prinze Jr.), while her younger sons Daniel and Diego (Oliver de los Santos and Noah Cotrell) can't stop bickering. She's still best friends with Cherie (Cherie Johnson, Family Matters), who runs the orphanage and hopes the Brewsters can help out with Izzy (Quinn Copeland), a troubled kid with a running-away streak, not unlike young Punky.
Is It Any Good?
Even with lots of nods to the original, and a charming cast of newcomers and original cast members, this series doesn't quite know who it's trying to please. The parents who grew up with kid Punky will enjoy seeing Frye wearing mismatched sneakers and happily chatting away to a photo of Henry on the wall, and tweens and teens new to the Punky world should find some connections with the younger cast. But the writing is less than fresh (think Full House level eye-roll-worthy quips) and the jokes rarely hit, even with the laugh track.
Punky is a bit of a scattered mess as an adult, but also seems able to manage a large family and even add another kid to the mix without too much thought, which adds to the show's strange tone. Travis also seems to be an immature doofus who still somehow has the ability to manipulate Punky, which doesn't make either character look good. The kid actors are great and have a lot of charm and spark, but none shine quite like Frye did in the original series. Let's hope the show can transcend its 80s sitcom roots, which worked back then, but just feels confusing now.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about adoption. Do you know anyone who has been adopted? Would Punky's life have been different if Henry hadn't adopted her? What defines a family?
Have you ever seen the original version of Punky Brewster? Why do you think they decided to bring it back? How are the two shows different, even though they share the same main character?
How do the characters communicate with each other? Why is this an important character strength?
- Premiere date: February 25, 2021
- Cast: Soleil Moon Frye, Freddie Prinze Jr.
- Network: Peacock
- Genre: Comedy
- Character Strengths: Communication, Compassion
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 28, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Heartwarming '80s sitcom celebrates family bonds.
Three men and three babies (er, girls).
Poignant comedy series has mature content, stereotypes.
For kids who love classic TV
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate