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 this fairly standard family sitcom revolves around issues that will resonate with many families -- especially those with teens. Marital strife, communication troubles with teens, and balancing family and work life are just some of the issues that are addressed (with humor, of course). Sexuality -- as it relates to teens dating and a middle-aged couple trying to keep the spark alive -- is often touched upon, the father likes his beer, and there's some relatively mild language. But overall, the family unit is an admirable one: The parents communicate honestly with their kids and maintain a loving relationship.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Comedian Bill Engvall (Blue Collar TV) stars in THE BILL ENGVALL SHOW as Bill Pearson, a family therapist whose knack for leading clients to their own relationship breakthroughs belies the controlled chaos that marks his own home life. Although Bill's family is his passion, he must learn to balance his desire to help with his kids' need to handle things on their own. Bill's long-suffering wife, Susan (Nancy Travis), is usually the model of decorum while handling the demands of the couple's three kids, but even she can come unhinged by their escapades. That said, whether it's teen daughter Lauren's (Jennifer Lawrence) pleas for a navel piercing, blissful underachiever Trent's (Graham Patrick Martin) suddenly burgeoning social life, or young germaphobe Brian's (Skyler Gisondo) escaped constrictor snake, there doesn't seem to be anything that this lighthearted couple can't overcome with a little love -- and a great sense of humor.
Is it any good?
Like many sitcoms before it, The Bill Engvall Show sets out to put a relatable comic spin on the everyday woes of marriage, family, and work. From teen dating to sibling rivalry to keeping the magic alive in a middle-aged marriage, parents will find a lot to chuckle at as the Pearsons muddles through life's ups and downs. Teens might also be entertained, but occasional strong language and sex references might be iffy for tweens.
Even though the show isn't exactly reinventing the sitcom wheel, one bright spot is that, despite typical TV spats and family dysfunction, the characters respect one another, communicate well, and don't have any qualms saying how they feel about each other (while managing to avoid the sweet sappiness that can plague overly touchy-feely shows).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the show compares to their own life. Are the characters and storylines believable? Why or why not? Teens: How does the parents' way of talking to their kids compare to your parents'? Do you wish your parents were more like the Pearsons? If so, in what way? How does this sitcom compare to others you've seen? What makes it more or less funny (or relatable) than others? How does media portray American families? Is it possible to define a "typical" family in our society?