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 The Astronaut Wives Club is a period drama based on the wives -- and the lives -- of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. The story begins in the late 1950s, so traditional gender roles apply, with some outdated stereotyping. Characters also smoke cigarettes and drink socially, occasionally to drunkenness, and some engage in infidelity, although sexual content is largely limited to innuendo, kissing, and groping. Language is hardly an issue, though, as even words such as "hell" are spelled out rather than spoken.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When their husbands are hand-picked to pilot the nation's first manned space flights, seven young housewives become instant members of THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB and move themselves -- and their families -- into the public eye. But their newfound celebrity status comes with increased scrutiny of their private lives and increased pressure on their personal relationships.
Is it any good?
Adapted from the nonfiction book of the same name by Lily Koppel, this series has all the shiny, happy promise of the era it so dutifully recreates (that, and a boatload of Jell-O molds). But what's missing is a much-needed sincerity -- both in the characters and the words they say -- that would make these women feel relevant and relatable. Though they're based on actual people, they seem contrived and clichéd rather than real.
So it's a club that values style over substance. And that's a shame, given The Astronauts Wives Club's otherwise intriguing premise: an early look at "reality TV" voyeurism and the artifice it so often breeds among its newly minted stars. If the Mercury 7 astronauts were piloting the nation's first space flights today, what would the reality shows about them and their families look like? How close to true "reality" would they come? And, more importantly, would there be room in the club for wives and husbands?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Astronaut Wives Club's portrayal of married life in the 1950s and '60s, in particular what it meant to be "a wife" or "a husband." How accurate is the series' take on the traditional gender roles so often associated with the era?
How has marriage changed since the late 1950s and '60s? How do the husband-wife pairings on The Astronaut Wives Club compare to modern couples?
How do the astronaut wives' experiences mirror those of modern families who find themselves the subject of, say, a popular reality show? What are the pros and cons of living your life in the public eye?
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