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 Plot Against America is a dramatic series that imagines an alternate history of the United States during World War II. In this reality, the country is under the leadership of a right-wing populist president. Politics and family are central to the series, but it also features mature themes, ranging from anti-Semitism and xenophobia, to infidelity and theft. Cursing is frequent, and there's drinking and smoking, too. Archival footage of Hitler and Holocaust events are shown.
What's the story?
Based on Philip Roth’s 2004 novel of the same name, THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA is a dramatic mini-series that reimagines American history in the 1940s. Herman and Elizabeth "Bess" Levin (Morgan Spector and Zoe Kazan) are raising their boys, Philip (Azhy Robertson) and Sandy (Caleb Malis), in Newark, New Jersey’s tight-knit, working-class Jewish community. Often joining them are Bess’ unmarried sister, Evelyn Finkel (Winona Ryder) and Herman’s orphaned nephew Alvin (Anthony Boyle). But the United States is leaning towards fascism, thanks to the political rise of xenophobic American hero Charles Lindbergh. Despite the fact that some some conservative Jewish leaders, like Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf (John Turturro), support this new administration, the overall members of the Jewish community are beginning to feel like strangers in their own country, and wonder how far it will go.
Is it any good?
This dystopian series offers a disturbing look at what the United States could have looked like in the 1940s had the nation chosen to follow a populist presidential candidate. However, woven throughout the fictional narrative is a discourse that reflects some of the politics of the time, including the very real anti-Semitic rhetoric from popular aviator and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh. It also draws obvious parallels to actions taken by the Trump Administration, which have led to discriminatory behavior against certain communities.
The story world is constructed from the Levin family's point of view, making it easier for viewers to appreciate how the once-close, ordinary American family starts to unravel thanks to a political climate that is confirming their worst fears, and destroying their American Dream. Inevitably, relationships become strained, and events become more dramatic as the country's conservative leaning's gives way to fascism. Ultimately, The Plot Against America works as a warning to all about what the United States could become if populism goes unchecked.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way the United States is portrayed in The Plot Against America. Why are people embracing extreme right-wing ideals? How are stereotypes used to reinforce them? Why are people not standing up to those who are doing wrong?
What does it mean when a politician, or a government, is referred to as populist? What kind of government works best, in your opinion?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love dystopian drama
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