What parents need to know
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 kids...as 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?