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 Richie Rich is a live-action series that recasts the kindly 1960s comic book character as spoiled, self-absorbed, and materialistic. The show strings together a series of ridiculous adventures facilitated by Richie's self-made wealth and typically resulting in frustration for those around him but no consequences for him. Expect a lot of arguing between Richie and his sister, whom he disregards as being jealous of him but who is the only one to stand up to his excessiveness. Likewise, Richie's dad is no help in reining in his son, thanks to a debilitating lack of common sense. Kids will find Richie's antics funny in a wishful-thinking kind of way, but the show's frivolous content has nothing of value for them in return.
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What's the story?
When Richie Rich (Jake Brennan) invents a new source of green energy, he becomes the world's wealthiest kid with a cool trillion dollars to his name. Now he and his family live in a mansion -- with its own amusement park, an indoor shark aquarium, and a vending machine that dispenses gold and chocolate bars -- where his best friends Murray (Joshua Garlon) and shopaholic Darcy (Jenna Ortega) spend most of their time as well. Even better, his every wish is a command for his comely robot maid, Irona (Brooke Wexler), who's always happy to serve. The only person who's less than sold on Richie's newfound wealth is his jealous older sister, Harper (Lauren Taylor), who resents what she considers her brother's accidental windfall.
Is it any good?
RICHIE RICH is a poor reimagining of the 1960s comic that introduced fans to "The Poor Little Rich Boy." Where the original character (and those characters who followed in a cartoon and live-action movie) was charitable and morally untarnished by his wealth, the Richie of this series is spoiled, selfish, and unaccountable for his actions. Much of this has to do with the fact that his father (Kiff VandenHeuvel) is beyond dim (he spends much of one episode searching in vain for a bathroom in his own house), so his son's antics go entirely unchecked, which leads to in-home concerts, a gorilla pit, and the occasional arrival of a sunken island nation's displaced population. And then there's the ever-doting robot maid who's easy on the eyes and who facilitates Richie's whims at every turn.
One might think that all the focus on materialism would be offset by at least a hint at the idea that money can't buy happiness, but sadly that doesn’t happen. In Richie's world, money buys everything and can solve any problem (even those that deal with hurt feelings and a sense of neglect), and even though his level of wealth is excessive by kids' standards, that's the message they'll get from the show. What they'll also see is a chronically bickering sibling duo, a friend whose loyalty to Richie is influenced by his money and a family dynamic that's in no way helped by fabulous wealth. If you want better messages, revisit Richie Rich in an older (and less obnoxious) incarnation.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what, if anything, is lacking in Richie's life. Are his relationships with his family and friends emotionally rewarding? Is there anything he wants that he can't buy? What do your kids have in their lives that Richie doesn't seem to?
Kids: Did any of Richie's many toys make you want something similar? To what degree are we influenced by what we see on TV? Why is it fun to have the "in" toy?
What would your family do with an unexpected fortune? How do you strike a balance between being responsible and having fun? Does your family have a long-term goal such as taking a vacation or making a big purchase? What small steps can you take now to make that happen later?
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