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 there are some iffy messages here for a show that seems to be targeting kids and their parents, including the central premise that kids can largely take care of themselves without any adults around. The brothers' desire to stay together -- rather than be sent to separate foster homes -- is what motivates them to lie, but they lie a lot nonetheless and don't seem to think it's all that dishonorable. There's also a good bit of cartoonish violence, some of which is quite startling, and some gateway swearing like "damn," "hell," and "piss off."
What's the story?
Is it any good?
In terms of plot, Sons of Tucson asks a lot from its audience and doesn't necessarily pay them back with the laugh-out-loud moments they might have been expecting. We're left wondering whether this would have played better as a Jack Black movie. After all, Labine is pretty much a Black lookalike -- down to his line delivery -- and you can't help but feel that his Ron could be friends with Black's Dewey Finn from School of Rock (or any of his other characters, for that matter).
Eerie similarities aside, Sons of Tucson gets points for its attempt to appeal to both kids and their parents. But some of the humor crosses the line in terms of appropriateness for tween viewers, even though two of the three Gunderson kids are supposed to be preteens themselves. Parents can watch with their kids, but be prepared for a Grandma who keeps dead squirrels in the freezer and has some pretty strange sexual fetishes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's use of violence as a comedic tool and whether any of it crosses the line. Why is it funny to see someone get hurt? Do you think most kids connect violent acts they see on sitcoms or cartoons with their real-life consequences?
In some ways, the show suggests that children can raise themselves without much parental guidance. Do you think that's a realistic idea? What types of things do moms and dads do that are irreplaceable? Do you think you could make it without your parents in the picture?
Do you think this series would have worked better as a movie? Why or why not? What are the advantages to doing it as a television show?