Shake It Up



Dance-themed series offers a simplified view of teen life.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate, although kids are treated to a variety of dance styles and moves.

Positive messages

The show celebrates the bonds of CeCe and Rocky’s friendship and shows kids how having friends can help them overcome difficult situations. The girls must cope with overnight fame and improved social status among their peers as a result of their new jobs. The show presents a very sanitized view of teen life, inferring that there’s humor in every struggle and that no problem can’t be solved in a 30-minute window.

Positive role models

Adults are mostly absent from the show, giving teens an unlikely level of freedom. CeCe’s mom’s is a working single mom, so CeCe pitches in to help out with her younger brother. Her tactics are questionable (feeding him a milk-and-cereal smoothie for breakfast to speed the process, for example), but her heart’s in the right place. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Teens are flirtatious around the opposite sex, but it never goes further than that.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there’s nothing offensive about this sugary series that will entice pre-tweens, but it is another example of how tween-oriented sitcoms greatly oversimplify the reality of teen life for its young audience. The characters’ troubles are easily overcome in the show’s 30-minute timeframe, and the pressures of social status, family responsibilities, and school are glossed over in favor of humor. That said, the show centers on a likable pair of teens who value their friendship over everything else and are willing to put in the time to achieve their dreams.

What's the story?

Best friends and aspiring performers CeCe Jones (Bella Thorne) and Rocky Blue (Zendaya) get their big break when they land spots as backup dancers on the local weekly dance show Shake It Up, Chicago!. Overnight fame and weekly paychecks are just a couple of the perks of their new job, but it’s not all fun and games. Their lives are a lot more complicated now that there are new routines to learn, responsibilities to juggle, and social pressures to deal with, but through it all, CeCe and Rocky hold tight to their friendship and rely on each other to navigate the choppy new waters.

Is it any good?


Disney churns out another entertaining series for tweens in SHAKE IT UP, a buddy comedy that celebrates the triumphs and pitfalls of friendship. CeCe and Rocky’s big personalities get them into plenty of offbeat adventures, but through it all, their affection for each other trumps the bad stuff and helps them work things out. They learn that it’s not always a smooth road to achieving their dreams, but they are dedicated, determined, and willing to work hard if it means getting what they want.

This series has all the markings of a typical Disney hit: colorful characters, upbeat music, and positive vibes all around. What’s more, Shake It Up features plenty of modern dance moves kids might want to emulate. Its overly sanitized view of life won’t work for more worldly tweens, and it certainly doesn't offer kids much quality content to sink their teeth into, but it’s mostly innocuous for long as parents follow up with a reality check now and then.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about setting and achieving goals. Kids: What are some things you hope to accomplish in your life? What skills or education will you need to acquire to achieve these? How can setting smaller goals help you stay focused on reaching the big ones?

  • Why is friendship important? How can a friend’s presence help you through difficult times? How do you show that you’re a good friend? What instances stand out for you as times when you helped a friend or (s)he helped you?

  • Do you think the TV shows you watch reflect realistic situations? How do characters’ experiences in school, family, and with friends compare to yours? Can you still learn something from a show if it oversimplifies the characters’ struggles? How do you think your life would translate to a TV show?

TV details

This review of Shake It Up was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byNotADisneyMomNow January 25, 2011

PG-13 Concepts and Humor

I'm a pretty mellow Mom. There are a lot of things out there that don't bother me. But this weekend the Disney Channel, of all things, finally tripped my Mom-censor. Shake It Up seems to be a fairly new show. I haven't quite gotten the basic plot line, but it seems to involve girls dancing a lot. This weekend, my daughter and her friend were watching Disney Channel in the background while the adults were having coffee and chatting. Suddenly, I heard *this* snippet of conversation between two characters: Teen Girl finishes a dance number. Teen Girl's Grandmother: "You call that dancing? I did better than that when I was a Vegas Showgirl....And I was in my birthday suit!" I immediately got up, walked over, and turned the TV off. I've seen some dubious things, but HOW did that get past Disney's quality control? The answer has to be that it was deliberate to add a bit of shock value and further Disney's goal of making it cool for teens. So, let me get this straight. Disney thinks it is OK to glorify strippers in its teen programming????!!!! I gave this program one star because I had to give it at least one star. I am doubtful now about the Common Sense ratings since this one was given a green light for ages 7 and up. In no way is this appropriate for 7-year-olds. This is adult humor and has no place in a show for tweens.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Educator Written byBig Sister c: September 9, 2011

Not a Bad Show...

To all of the over protective parents out there commenting on this show and taking everything WAY too seriously...... tell us some of the T.V. shows and cartoons you watched growing up that have made you such an expert on what kids should be watching. Hm? Let's see, Popeye? He smoked out of a pipe and had tattoos. Tom and Jerry? Nothing but violence and crude humor. The Brady Bunch? Half those kids had drug related problems DURING the time frame of the shows airing AND didnt the oldest ones end up hooking up in the end? Now im not an expert on television or raising children, but Shake It Up is not a bad show. It's cute and funny :D
Adult Written bythemama3 May 1, 2011
I hate this 5 almost 6 year old want to watch it if she sees that it is on t.v. and my husband and I both say no! The 2 main character girls are the worst influence/ horrible role models. They use words like "losers" and "nerds" to other children in their school at a time when we are having children being killed/killing themselves because of bullying...yet Disney is promoting!? There are never parents around and the girls make wrong choices all the time with no lessons learned, what kind of message is Disney trying to send? Even Cece's little brother, who is under the age of 12 in the show always appears to be home alone. I get that this might be for tweens or teens, but it is so unrealistic of how life is as a child during those ages. The girls are always wearing a ton of making and wearing clothes that are just not appropriate. The main character girls are talking back and giving attitude to adults, including teachers in the school setting. I just don't understand why Disney would chose to air this show. I think this show is HORRIBLE for any child and it should NOT be on the air. I HATE this show and the lack of message it provides for all children. I feel like Disney is totally promoting bulling at a time when children have to sign a pledge at school saying they won't take part in that kind of behavior. I will not let my child watch this show ever and i suggest all parents do the same.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns


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