What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Thundermans centers on a family whose members' superpowers provide extra ammunition in their frequent spats with each other. Much of the show's humor hinges on the contentious exchanges between teen twins Phoebe and Max, whose disagreements are visibly funny but send iffy messages about sibling relationships and acceptable methods of conflict resolution. Caught in the middle are two younger siblings who can dish out the digs just like their older brother and sister but who often get caught in power struggles between them, and the husband-wife team rarely get the upper hand over their headstrong kids. Content-wise, there's little to worry about in this sitcom, but parents may take umbrage with how it portrays the family structure and the relationships within it.
What's the story?
THE THUNDERMANS follows a family of superheroes who have hung up their capes and moved to the suburbs searching for a more normal life. Front-and-center are teen twins Phoebe (Kira Kosarin) and Max (Jack Griffo), who share the powers of telekinesis and freeze breath but little else. Although do-gooder Phoebe seizes the change of locale as an opportunity to be a regular teen among "non-suits," Max spends most of his time scheming and inventing his way to eventual supervillain status. Younger siblings Billy (Diego Velazquez) and Nora (Addison Riecke) have powers of their own (superspeed and laser-beam eyes, respectfully), which they unleash on their older siblings and each other at will. Parenting four kids is never an easy task, but add powers to the mix, and it's a recipe for chaos. Fortunately, dad Hank (Chris Tallman) and mom Barb (Rosa Blasi) have a few tricks up their own sleeves, but there's a fine line between respecting your true nature and letting the whole neighborhood in on your family's little secret.
Is it any good?
A family with supernatural powers hiding out in the 'burbs and attempting to fit in with regular people? It would be a workable concept for a sitcom if not for the fact that it's been done many times over already. The Thundermans bears so many similarities to a mix between The Incredibles and Wizards of Waverly Place that it feels like old news; and the chronic sibling rivalry accelerated by the kids' powers is meant to be a selling point for the show but comes off as downright irritating (particularly to parents) in no time at all. What's more, even though Max's attempts at villainous works are more comical than they are threatening, kids are bound to be somewhat enthralled with the novelty of a charming TV character who's working toward bad-guy status.
It's not earth-shattering news that kids are influenced by what they watch on TV. Whether it's a commercial that plants the desire for a hot new toy or a favorite cartoon character who's prone to pseudo-cursing, kids will, to some degree, emulate what they see and hear. With that in mind, The Thundermans' depiction of family life –- from sparring siblings to parents who are steamrolled by their scheming kids –- could be a concern. The bottom line? This show's canned jokes will make you laugh, but there are plenty of TV shows that present a more realistic likeness of a family.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the Thundermans' family structure compares to their own. Kids: Who is in charge at your house? How are you expected to treat your siblings? What are some of your family rules? Why are they important?
Kids: How do you resolve a conflict with a friend or family member? Do you ever call on someone else to help? What are some important guidelines to keep in mind when you're talking out a problem?
Max's character is charming but claims to have a dark side, and he wants to be a villain. How can you tell a good guy from a bad guy on TV or in movies? What about in real life? What rules does your family have regarding strangers that help keep you safe?