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, like its popular parent series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, this show is filled with content that's bound to entertain tweens but might leave parents rolling their eyes. The largely unsupervised teen characters engage in lots of mischief, discipline is virtually nonexistent, and no problem arises that can't be solved by the time the credits roll. One of the twins is pretty flirty and makes mildly suggestive comments, while another main character constantly gloats over her family's wealth and uses money and expensive gifts to control her peers -- her manipulations are played for laughs, of course, but they're still grating. Tween fans may need to be reminded that little of what they're seeing is relatable to most people's reality.
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What's the story?
In THE SUITE LIFE ON DECK, twins Zack and Cody Martin (played by Dylan and Cole Sprouse, respectively) leave the luxurious confines of the Tipton Hotel for the equally swanky S.S. Tipton to set sail on a study-abroad program called Seven Seas High. Joined by spoiled heiress London Tipton (Brenda Song) and long-suffering hotel manager-turned-ship supervisor Mr. Moseby (Phill Lewis), Zack and Cody are primed for adventure -- and with new friends by their side, there's no shortage of fun or mischief to be had at sea.
Is it any good?
It's a no-brainer that this spin-off of the very popular Disney series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody will entertain fans left adrift when that show ended in September 2008. The trouble-making twins won't let a change of scenery interfere with their penchant for mischief, and new friends Woody (Matthew Timmons) and Bailey (Debby Ryan) happily sign on to follow the boys' often misguided leads.
It's just too bad that Disney didn't mix a few more positive lessons in with all of the fantasy-based fun. Zack and Cody are teens now, but they're still allowed to run amok (and encourage others to do so) without any real adult supervision. Spoiled London takes every opportunity to remind her peers of her fortune and often attempts to sway their actions with money, which sends some iffy messages about materialism and peer pressure. If your tweens do tune in, take the opportunity to do a reality check: Point out that little of what kids are seeing here would be accepted as responsible teen behavior and that in the real world, there are consequences for your actions that last beyond a 30-minute episode.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how real life differs from Zack and Cody's world. How is their lifestyle like a fantasy? Do they ever seem affected by anything serious -- like money, illness, or family struggles?
Kids: Do you ever worry about those things? Is there any part of Zack and Cody's life that you can relate to?
Tweens: Do you think you'd enjoy living in another country? If so, where would you go?
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