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, on the whole, this fun series is a refreshing addition to the competitive tween market. Tweens will enjoy the kids' antics, and parents can be happy that the exchange of practical jokes is about as iffy as the content gets (though at least one of the pranks involves posting mildly embarrassing pictures on the Internet, which is a form of cyberbullying). While there's not too much attempt to promote specific positive messages, Sonny's self-confidence and strong leadership skills make her a standout among her peers -- especially compared to the self-absorbed male heartthrob she's often at odds with.
What's the story?
Sonny Munroe's (Demi Lovato) dream came true when she was discovered by a TV producer and earned a spot on the popular (fictional) TV sketch show So Random! But the move from her native Midwestern home to the hills of Hollywood doesn't quite lead to the warm welcome she anticipated -- especially from the show's beautiful star, Tawni Hart (Tiffany Thornton), who sees Sonny's arrival as a threat. And then there's Chad Dylan Cooper (Sterling Knight), the poster boy for the network's rival drama series, whose oversized ego is hard for sensible Sonny to stomach. She soon learns it will take more than her acting talents to win over her new peers -- but, true to her roots, she's up for the challenge.
Is it any good?
Disney serves up a viable contender for the hot tween market with SONNY WITH A CHANCE, and the good news is that this series has trimmed much of what many parents have come to loathe about shows geared for this age group. Less commercial (so far, anyway) than series like Hannah Montana and High School Musical, the show attempts to stand on its own merit -- and for the most part, it succeeds.
Lovato shines as the sensible, self-assured star whose down-home persona earns her peers' respect. Sonny is a natural leader who's not afraid to speak her mind, and she's unaffected by the star status of friendly nemesis Chad Dylan. The spectrum of characters offers something for everyone, and the ensemble's work as a whole makes for plenty of fun-filled moments. Add to that the kid-pleasing So Random! sketches, and it's clear that this series will be a hit with tweens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about being a good leader. What qualities are important in leadership? Do you think people are born leaders, or do circumstances make them who they are? Are there any leaders you admire?
Families can also discuss celebrities and what happens when favorite stars end up in the spotlight for negative issues. Kids: How do you feel when a celeb makes a public mistake? Parents: How do you explain teen celebs brushes with legal or health troubles?
What does it say about people in general that we revere entertainers like we do but not other professionals, like doctors, teachers, and soldiers?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.