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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that So Awkward is a series about young teens navigating social issues at school. It has no drugs or drinking, no sex (save for discussion about dating, crushes, and how you should act if you're a boyfriend or a girlfriend), and no cursing. Violence is mild and comic: A boy throws a glass of water in another boy's face, and two girls throw smoke bombs down a school hallway, for instance. Young characters are concerned with schoolwork, teachers, parents, and extracurricular activities. Parents are present and supportive, but the adults on this show are sometimes depicted foolishly: A ridiculously stern librarian is given a fake mustache, and a man with a large body is shown as clumsy and constantly breaking things. But overall, this show is gentle and inoffensive, perfect for elementary school students who want to see other kids making mistakes and then learning how to fix them.
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What's the story?
Lily Hampton (Cleo Demetriou), Jas Salford (Ameerah Falzon-Ojo), and Martha Fitzgerald (Sophia Dall'aglio) are at an age when they feel SO AWKWARD. They're not sure where they fit in socially at school. Boys are a complete mystery. And parents are just so embarrassing, even (especially?) when they mean well. But at least they have good friends to rely on and muddle through with somehow.
Is it any good?
Most people would agree that middle school is an awkward time, but the worse things are for Martha, Jas, and Lily, the more viewers will enjoy watching. The problems these British middle-graders face are so relatable: clueless parents, capricious school administrators, teasing classmates. There are comet-watching parties, and PE classes, and fake curses that make a team lose a hockey game. It's all so gentle, innocent, and charming that parents will be delighted to put this show on for their kids -- and elementary-schoolers will eagerly watch, hoping that So Awkward gives them a preview of what tweenhood will be like.
It sure helps that the actors playing students are actually young and playing their age; they're not teens, or worse, 20-somethings pretending to be teens. Like real kids, these actors are unpolished and green: They clump down school hallways, they say the wrong thing at the wrong time, they roll their eyes when their embarrassing mother shows up and tells childhood stories. And like real kids, they're terribly sweet and easy to root for. They wear the dumb sweaters Mom knitted, they give every challenge their all, they fail and struggle and get up and try again. Middle school may not have been a great stage to live through, but viewed through the lens of this delightful series, it's lots of fun to watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how So Awkward's British heritage makes it different from an American-made show. Do the characters look or sound different from American students of the same age? Do they have the same or different concerns? Are the school and its teachers different?
Why are schools a common setting for shows about young people? Are they similar to shows about adults that are set in workplaces? Why does a setting where many people come together make for a relatable or compelling framework for a series?
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