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 corny humor and silly situations in this classic 1960s sitcom will probably be lost on tweens and tweens more accustomed to the relative complexity of modern-day shows. There's little reality to this series, but it serves its purpose as simple, mild entertainment. Content-wise, there's nothing iffy beyond a few kisses and innuendo and the use of guns and other weapons as props (but they're never used to inflict actual harm), so if you can persuade your tweens and teens to watch with you, there's no reason to worry.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Capitalizing on Beatlemania, the 1960s sitcom THE MONKEES followed a group of four hip, floppy-haired young guys in an up-and-coming band as they played music, hung out on the beach, and goofed around. In each episode, band members Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, and Peter Tork fill their idle hours with ridiculous antics and hopeless misadventures, all of which are over-the-top but, predictably, solvable within the show's 30-minute timeframe. Each episode also includes music from the band, which -- despite being assembled just for the show -- managed a handful of folksy pop-rock hits like "Daydream Believer" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" during its heyday. Eventually, the fictional band became a real touring and album-recording group, cementing their status as Beatles doppelgangers (or, according to some, inauthentic knock-offs) -- and their appeal to the '60s youth culture demographic.
Is it any good?
Make no mistake: This show sets out to be corny, and if there are any doubts about its intention, the colorful, goofy costumes and quick-change comedy scenes soon put them to rest. The Monkees excel at, well, monkeying around, blending physical comedy with shtick in a way that's strangely endearing to viewers who don't mind the show's dated feel or the fact that it's in no way related to reality.
It may be a hard sell to get your tweens or teens to tune in, but if they do, rest assured that there's no content to worry about. Brief kisses, some mild flirting/innuendo, and the use of weapons strictly as props are the worst of it. And who knows? Maybe you and your kids will find common ground in some of the band's hits that can still be heard today.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fact that the band didn't exist before the TV show. Does that make the guys seem less like real musicians? What do you think the motivations were for creating both the band and the show? Are there any parallels in today's TV/media world?
Are you more inclined to buy a band's music if you see them on TV or watch a movie that stars your favorite music personality? Why or why not?
How does the modern-day music industry compare to that of years ago? What similarities exist between The Monkees and current bands like the Jonas Brothers? How have the obstacles they face to success changed over the years? Do you think one is more deserving of fame than the other? Why?
Compare and contrast The Monkees and The Beatles. What were parents' experiences with the two bands? How are they similar and different?
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