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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that School of Rock is a remake-turned-TV-series of the 2003 movie starring Jack Black. The premise is the same -- goofy musician does a stint as a substitute and teaches kids to appreciate rock music -- but much else is different. Overall the content is fine for kids and tweens, though some parents might tire of a girl's exhaustive attempts to get a cute boy to notice her. There's also the rather sizable issue of the teacher's and students' cooperative deception of the school's principal, who naively believes them to be studying subjects such as math and history when they're playing music instead. Ultimately, though, the show's positive messages about following your passion and taking on new challenges win out.
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What's the story?
SCHOOL OF ROCK follows a group of prep school students who are inspired to rock out together by their unorthodox substitute teacher. When Dewey Finn (Tony Cavalero) first sets foot in their classroom, Zack (Lance Lim), Lawrence (Aidan Miner), Freddy (Ricardo Hurtado), Summer (Jade Pettyjohn), and Tomika (Breanna Yde) can tell he's not up to the challenge of filling in as their regular teacher, and they're quite right. He's not a teacher at all; he's a down-on-his-luck guitarist trying to fill the gap between music gigs. But somehow he manages to get through to them through music, and they wind up forming a band that brings out something special in each of them and that Mr. Finn hopes will help him win a local competition.
Is it any good?
It's immediately obvious that this series is trying to match the magic of the original School of Rock, but it comes up a little short. Cavalero is decent as the overgrown kid Mr. Finn, but he's no Jack Black, and the students range from borderline obsessive (ahem, Summer) to freethinking and freewheeling. Of course, kids who haven't seen the movie won't care that the role has already been mastered, and they'll love the hilarious fallout from this totally cool -- but entirely inept -- teacher.
School of Rock's stories raise some issues that beg for follow-up with your kids, particularly when it comes to Summer's mild fixation on turning Freddy's head. It also would be valuable to remind kids that this kind of disregard for rules and more orthodox education (no, history and science aren't "the boring stuff," Mr. Finn) doesn't fly in the real world. It's also a lot of fun to see the guest stars from the music and Nickelodeon worlds pop up on some episodes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork in School of Rock. In what areas of your life (hobbies, school, home) do you have to work with others to reach a common goal? What challenges exist in situations like these? How does winning as a team feel?
Kids: Which teachers have most inspired you? Which methods did they use that did so? What other role models have you looked to for guidance?
Is there ever an appropriate time to keep secrets from parents and authority figures? In a real-world setting, how might these kids' and teacher's actions affect them down the line? Is telling the truth always easy?
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