Parents' Guide to

The '80s: The Decade That Made Us

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Fascinating, mature retelling of memorable era's legacy.

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The age of breakdancing and jelly bracelets inspires distinct visual images, especially for viewers who have their own memories from this era. But The '80s: The Decade That Made Us doesn't wallow in nostalgia so much as it uses cultural references to complete the picture of a time that witnessed indelible changes to American politics and society. As the country transitioned from the weariness over energy shortages and hostage crises in the '70s to a new climate of individuality and entrepreneurship, what role did the Sony Walkman or Jane Fonda fitness videos play in forever altering that picture? How did a ragtag hockey team inspire an entire nation's new confidence and view of the future? And what was the significance of voting an actor into the White House?

Because this series assumes the audience has a working knowledge of major historical events during this era, it's not a suitable choice for younger kids. What's more, it explores a range of mature topics like gender discrimination, race relations, war, and sexuality, sometimes in greater depth than is appropriate for some teens. If your older ones are interested in watching, you might want to screen the content to judge its appropriateness for them. Ultimately, though, the curious questions, thought-provoking answers, and yes, touches of nostalgia make this a fascinating and entertaining series for a range of viewers.

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