A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Parents love and support their kids and friends are there for each other when the chips are down, but there are other more regressive messages in a show where characters constantly mock each other.
Positive Role Models
Most characters are of a type that can be described in a few words: Ozzie is arch and dismissive, Jay is flirtatious and confident, Gwen is rebellious and vulnerable. Central character Callie is a bit more realistic, but this is sitcom writing and characters alternately make fun of each other and are supportive.
Callie's group of friends is quite diverse, with teenagers of color in the core group of friends. Among them are boys of Asian, Latino and black backgrounds. One of them, Ozzy, is gay. His friends accept him readily and so do the adults. He's not just "the gay one," he's the sarcastic and witty one who happens to be gay.
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Violence & Scariness
There are comic threats of violence: "You're getting in that car or my foot is getting in your ass."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Expect romantic complications, kissing, dating. One character is very flirtatious and most of the female characters respond to it. Jokes turn on sex frequently: "Those buds are blooming," says a grandmother to a teen girl, indicating her breasts; a teen boy tells a woman that he "can't wait to spend all summer inside it," indicating her spacious basement (but communicating a sexual meaning). At least one episode involves characters attempting to have sex for the first time.
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Cursing includes "hell," "bitch," "ass," and "son of a bitch." Expect other iffy words like "sucks," and "dillweed."
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Products & Purchases
Brands are mentioned: Lip-Smackers, Zima.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Expect teen drinking: In this show's first episode, teens get a keg of beer, threaten an adult with the loss of their liquor license in order to buy a tap, then drink together from red Solo cups. They are expansive and emotional after drinking (and climb to the top of a water tower). Adults also drink, but no one gets drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that That '90s Show is a reboot/continuation of That '70s Show and features many of the cast members of the original, reprising their roles as guest stars or members of the main cast. The level of mature content is roughly the same as the original, too: teens drink beer and smoke cannabis, they flirt, kiss, and have (off-screen) sex, they mock each other relentlessly. Also like the original, there are always sweet moments of support and affection between friends and family members, too. Language includes "ass," "bitch," and "hell," as well as iffy language like "dillweed" and "sucks."
Is It Any Good?
No one's trying to reinvent the wheel in this reboot, and what worked before surprisingly still works at times, though this throwback's not for everyone. On the surface, That ‘90s Show should be much worse: A relaunch of a popular old sitcom that self-consciously gathers a new group of teens for hijinks while members of the old cast reprise their roles and pop in for guest spots? Yikes. And yet, there are some things to love about That ‘90s Show, and Debra Jo Rupp is chief amongst them. Once again playing the matriarch upstairs to a motley group of teens growing up mostly downstairs (yes, in the same basement with the same furniture as in the original), Rupp is once again a solid hoot, landing every joke she gets (and she gets plenty).
But anyone who's seen That ‘70s Show knows that Rupp was one of its secret weapons, how's the new gang of young'uns? Not half bad, due to the actors' charm, despite the fact that the show clearly tried to recreate some of the original's cast dynamics: Jay is a mini Kelso (and is also Kelso and Jackie's son, as we find out when Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher show up to tell us so), Gwen is meant to be the Donna of the group, and so on. Their interplay is sweet, even if it raises only mild chuckles. The show is more interesting when it tackles meta issues, such as Donna and Eric's surprise that they're now on the other side of teen battles. "Enjoying yourself, kids? You're upstairs people now," needles Red as the couple sits with Red and Kitty while their daughter does god knows what in the basement downstairs with her new friends. For viewers who grew up with the original, it's piquant humor that really hits home, which may be enough of a reason to give this reboot a look.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.