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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Mayor is a family-friendly sitcom starring Brandon Micheal Hall (Search Party) as a 27-year-old aspiring hip-hop artist who finds himself the unlikely mayor of his town. He lives with his mom, a postal carrier who references having had him at age 16 and who's a hardworking, positive presence in his life. Language is mild, and the show offers positive messages about civic engagement, teamwork, and leadership -- as well as plenty of laughs.
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What's the story?
Courtney Rose is a struggling hip-hop artist -- his "recording studio" is in his bedroom closet -- who runs for THE MAYOR of his mid-sized Northern California city on a lark, as a nontraditional way to advertise his mixtape. He soon finds that although his campaign started as a joke, his firsthand experience as someone who actually lives in the economically challenged community he'd be serving makes him more relatable to voters than his career politician opponents. Against all odds, he's voted into office, and although his first instinct is to step down and admit the whole thing was a farce, his friends and family convince him that the same POV that makes him a good rapper means he may have something valuable to contribute as mayor -- and that he needs to respect the wishes of the community who believed in him enough to elect him. With the help of his mom, his pals, and the no-nonsense know-how of mayoral aide (and former classmate) Valentina Barella, Courtney chooses to stay and govern, and faces challenges as he tries to improve his community while not letting his musical aspirations slip away in the process.
Is it any good?
This is a peppy, charming comedy whose good vibes and earnest message could not be coming at a better time. The Mayor is thoughtful without being preachy, and makes a point of showing the accidental mayor realizing the gravity of his newly appointed role, and taking the needs of his constituents seriously, even if he doesn't always do things the "right" way. The cast has real chemistry, and it's good to see the oft-underestimated Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) in a series-regular role that's worthy of her. Meanwhile, lead actor Brandon Micheal Hall's charisma and quiet intelligence shine through. Glee's Lea Michele also strikes a nice balance between strident Tracy Flick-style ambition and humble sincerity as Courtney's antagonist-turned-aide Valentina. It's a fun premise, with a snappy script and winning cast -- and it features catchy music as well, thanks to executive producer Daveed Diggs, a breakout star from the Broadway sensation Hamilton, who makes a brief appearance in the pilot and is responsible for writing the show's rhymes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about any similarities they see between the plot of The Mayor -- where a member of the entertainment industry runs for public office and is elected, to much surprise -- and our own real-life political climate. How do the lifestyle and circumstances of these elected officials differ? Did you find Courtney's mayoral win believable?
How does the media usually portray families headed by a single mother -- and in particular, families of color? Do you find the relationships depicted on The Mayor to be realistic? Why or why not?
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