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 Some Assembly Required is a comedy series about teens who run a toy-manufacturing company. The characters are mostly superficial, filling easily quantified roles such as the brainiac, the geek, and the fashionista (in this case, a guy). The two girls are particularly pigeonholed; one is smart but acerbic, and the other is of no intellectual value to the team (a point that's made time and again), but she serves as eye candy for the guys. There's little worrisome content, but don't expect many solid messages, as the teens make their own rules and never face consequences for any mistakes they make.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When a twist of fate awards Jarvis (Kolton Stewart) the reins to Knickknack Toys, he hires a team of friends to help him run the business and create new products. There's tech wiz Piper (Charlie Storwick), fearless Knox (Dylan Playfair), trend-savvy Aster (Travis Turner), and beautiful Geneva (Sydney Scotia), with Jarvis' best friend, Bowie (Harrison Houde), rounding out the crew. But when former owner Candace (Ellie Harvey) infiltrates headquarters posing as the cleaning lady, Mrs. Bubkes, she tries to undermine their work and prove that these kids can't take the heat, thereby reclaiming the company she built. Can this group of teens prove they have what it takes to create marketable (and workable) products?
Is it any good?
SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED plays up character stereotypes for laughs and to compensate for its otherwise mediocre content. It's obvious within minutes of watching which role each character is meant to play, from disparaging fashion critic Aster to dim thrill-seeker Knox. Worst of the bunch is Geneva, the team's resident dumb blonde who's never shy about showing off her intellectual shortcomings. Of course, only her female counterpart, Piper, seems bothered by it; the guys are all too happy to concentrate on her looks more than on her brain.
Even so, kids won't be turned off by this any more than they'll critique this Canadian show's other stumbling block: its complete dismissal of any resemblance of reality. Both qualities make for a lot of absurd situations and laughs, but they also send mixed messages about how relationships -- and success -- are forged in the real world. Granted, there's kid-size fun to be had in some of the team's toy creations (a harmonica that sounds like multiple instruments? Yes, please!), but if yours do tune in, be sure to point out to them the instances in which the characters' reality diverges from yours.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stereotypes. Are they always negative, or can there be positive stereotypes? Is it ever appropriate to judge a person on his or her appearance?
This show suggests that there are some jobs that could be done better by kids or teens than adults. Can you think of an instance in which that might be true? How could both sides benefit from cooperating to complete a task?
Kids: How would you improve on or reinvent your favorite toy(s)? As technology improves, how does our expectations of what entertains us change as well? What rules does your family have for screen time, and why?
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