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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this upbeat sitcom’s generally age-appropriate content makes it a fine choice for older tweens and teens. The mildly dysfunctional Gallagher clan deals with common family issues like differences of opinion and effective communication, but the show’s lighthearted spin makes it all relatable and even fun. Occasional episodes touch on issues like underage drinking and driving without a license, but overall the show is one of ABC Family's milder offerings. Adults (especially those old enough to recall The Partridge Family) will get an extra kick out of David Cassidy’s portrayal of a singer who refuses to acknowledge that his heyday is past.
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What's the story?
Former ‘80s rock star David Gallagher (David Cassidy) gets the surprise of his life when teenage Ruby (Alexa Vega) shows up and claims to be his daughter. Since the prospect of child-rearing doesn’t jive with his efforts to revive his musical glory days, he looks for help from his more responsible brother/former band mate, Patrick (Cassidy's real-life half-brother, Patrick Cassidy). Patrick and his wife, Audie (Katie Amanda Keane), welcome Ruby with open arms, and she finds fast friends in their two sons, Jordan (Austin Butler) and Ben (Kurt Doss). But Ruby’s deepest desire is to have a relationship with her father, and it will take compromise and forgiveness on everyone’s part to become a true family.
Is it any good?
RUBY & THE ROCKITS is an unexpected gem among contemporary family sitcoms. The story puts a fresh spin on the concept of family drama, and it’s fun to assume that David and Patrick’s opposing personalities might be inspired by the Cassidy brothers’ real-life experiences. Vega shines as spunky, optimistic Ruby, and the rest of the cast rounds out a well-scripted series that reminds viewers that every family has an element of dysfunction.
What’s more, the show manages to work in some positive messages without coming across as hokey. In order to become the type of family Ruby envisions, for instance, David and Patrick must set aside their personal differences and put her needs first. And Ruby, too, realizes that she has to bend a bit on her high standards and appreciate her father's efforts. With its largely worry-free content and take-aways like these, it’s easy to like this fun, family-friendly series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about making appropriate media choices. Tweens: What are some of your favorite TV shows? Have you seen shows or movies that you think are inappropriate for your age? How did you come across them?
How does our society view celebrities? What gives some stars more staying power than others? Should celebrities be held to a higher standard than we are because of their status?
How do the Gallaghers’ family struggles compare to your own? Is their situation believable? Which character do you most identify with? How does your family work through communication issues and differences of opinion?
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