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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sketch comedy spin-off of Sonny with a Chance is an excellent choice for families. The show's skits poke fun at pop culture with characters like Jack Sparrow (who's really a sparrow), rapper Footy Scent, and The Real Princesses of New Jersey. The show is targeted toward tweens, but both parents and kids will appreciate its clean humor and memorable characters, even if youngsters don't pick up on the cultural references. Expect embedded marketing connections with other Disney shows and stars, like Selena Gomez. Also, important to note: The show serves as a replacement for Sonny with a Chance after star Demi Lovato left that show for personal issues reported to be related to an eating disorder, among other issues. Most tweens won't pick up on any of this, but be prepared for a conversation with any news-savvy kids.
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What's the story?
SO RANDOM! is a sketch comedy series inspired by a show within another Disney show, Sonny with a Chance. The series features Sonny favorites like Chad Dylan Cooper (Sterling Knight), Nico Harris (Brandon Mychal Smith), and Tawni Hart (Tiffany Thornton), along with a cast of newcomers who join them for a handful of comical skits that poke fun at various aspects of modern life, from parodied reality TV shows to uncharacteristic superheroes. Existing favorites like The Real Princesses of New Jersey and Roadkill McGill are joined by new characters Zombie Man and Tantrum Girl, among others. Guest stars like Greyson Chance and Cody Simpson also drop in to give musical performances between vignettes.
Is it any good?
So there's one Disney show (Sonny) that centers on the lives of the actors in a fictitious sketch comedy (So Random!), which is now a real sketch comedy that stars the cast of the original series. The set-up may be confusing to those who aren't already Sonny fans, but it's not hard to get on board with the whole conglomerate once you've tuned in to So Random! The G-rated show sticks to family-safe content like grammar mishaps, safety-conscious crime-fighters, and unreasonable tantrum-throwing kids. Younger kids may not grasp the pop-culture parodies like Jack Sparrow (who's really a sparrow) and rapper Footy Scent, but at the same time, there's nothing to keep them from watching along with everyone else.
Of course, there's the unavoidable issue of blatant cross-advertising between the partner shows, and fans of each are bound to want to see the other, since the character pool is nearly identical (with the obvious absence of Sonny's titular star, played by Demi Lovato). The same holds true for the show's choice of guest musical stars, all of whom appeal to So Random!'s target tween audience. Expect some harmless stereotyping in parodies of stars like Taylor Swift and Willow Smith as well, but all of these are forgivable blemishes to what's otherwise a worry-free show whose talented cast gives it a cross-generational appeal that should appeal to families.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about comedy. Did you find this show funny? What were your favorite characters? Does it bother you that the characters poked fun at some real people?
Tweens: What have you heard about Demi Lovato's decision to leave Sonny with a Chance? What kinds of pressures do young stars face? Do you think she made a good decision to leave her TV show? Why or why not? Is Lovato a role model?
How do advertisers attempt to influence your likes and dislikes? What shows or movies have you seen that use product placement or other forms of advertising to change your buying habits? Should there be limits on marketing on TV or in movies? Why or why not?
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