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 humor here is geared toward adults, although kids will certainly pick up on some of the risqué references. A lot of the situations revolve around sex, including references to cross-dressing, bisexuality and homosexuality, and implied oral sex. One episode featured a missing "secret stash" of marijuana that belonged to the parents. The program is primarily from the parents' point of view, so there is a "behind the curtain" view into what these parents are really thinking. This "honesty" and sarcasm is something not all kids will understand or be ready to handle. The series follows The Simpsons on Fox's Sunday night, so kids may be interested, especially since the type of humor is similar (although a bit more obvious). Watch a few episodes before making it part of your family-hour.
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What's the story?
THE WAR AT HOME is reminiscent of past suburban family comedies with an edge such as Married With Children, The Simpsons, and Roseanne, only with a nicer home and office jobs. David, the father (Michael Rapaport), and his wife Vicky (Anita Barone) are raising three teenagers -- two boys and a girl -- while both working full-time. Each teen is on the verge of discovery -- primarily sexual.
Is it any good?
Compared to many of the current family comedy favorites (such as My Wife and Kids and Everybody Loves Raymond), where male comedians live amongst their smart-aleck wives, have a few kids, and usually have an in-law living in or near the house, The War at Home is more original. There is no need to rely on neighbors or funny little mishaps to keep the laughs coming -- this show is smarter than that. Having both David and Vicky as career professionals and in-the-know parents helps build the believability and appeals to teens.
As humorous, entertaining, or possibly crude as some adults might find The War at Home, there is caution for those with teens who are interested in watching. David and Vicky are candid in their conversations about how they feel about their kids. In one episode, they suspect their oldest son to be a cross-dresser -- an ongoing theme throughout the show. Their daughter also begins dating an African-American boy -- something that David takes a while to get used to. Ultimately, the parents' issues with their children are resolved. They don't aim to stop their kids from doing things they may not initially approve of. And that is what makes the show a modern family comedy. Some parents may appreciate the frank but humorous treatment of issues involving interracial/bisexual/homosexual dating, and others will not. If you have concerns, we recommend checking out a few episodes to see if the show is right for your family before sharing the program with your kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about topics such as dating, experimenting, and sex, all of which come up in the show. Families can discuss whether or not they think David and Vicky are good parents and role models. They might ask their teens if they prefer traditional family comedies or ones like this, where the parents are flawed and don't always have the answers.
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