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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley is a '90s musical mystery series starring the Olsen twins as globetrotting gumshoes. It had its TV premiere in 2001. The show is dated and plenty corny from a grown-up's standpoint, but it still has appeal for kids, and there's nothing to fear in the age-appropriate content. Each episode has a different setting, introducing kids to new places and often teaching them about the subject of the day's mystery, from UFOs to volcanoes. The girls make an appealing pair, leaning on each other when they need it and working together to gather and understand clues. Energetic music rounds out this enjoyable throwback series.
What's the story?
No mystery can stump the dynamic duo of Mary-Kate (Mary-Kate Olsen) and Ashley (Ashley Olsen), twin sisters who spend their afternoons solving cases for clients all over the world in THE ADVENTURES OF MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY. From UFOs to inexplicable happenings at an island resort, these girls' caseload takes them from one corner of the globe to the next and drops them in any number of precarious situations, but they won't give up until every clue is uncovered and the mystery is solved in time for them to get home for dinner.
Is it any good?
Music and moxie are on full display in this charming series that's evidence of what made the Olsen twins such darlings of the small screen in their formative years. They're so comfortable in front of the camera and with each other that the show almost has a natural, unscripted quality to it . . . that is until a call comes in from overseas and they set out on their bicycles to investigate a haunted house in Transylvania or some such thing. Obviously the show requires a certain disregard for geographical distance, elapsed time, and realistic juvenile independence, but the fantasy it spins just makes it more fun.
The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley surprises with some decent educational content that naturally accompanies mysteries set near volcanoes and at U.S. Space Camp, for instance. Other stories incorporate learning into the mystery, as when the girls must piece together aspects of beekeeping to figure out what cloaked figure is scaring their client in an abandoned mansion. With a collection of fun songs and some funny scenarios to boot, these educational moments won't stand out to kids, but they do add another positive element to this enjoyable show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the investigation process as it's shown in The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley. How do the girls identify clues? Do all of them make sense at first? Did you figure out the answer before the girls did?
Where do the characters' travels take them? How long would you have to travel to get there from where you are? If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?
Are your kids familiar with the Olsen twins? Are they good role models for girls? Why or why not? Who are some of your kids' role models?
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For kids who love mysteries
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