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 Turn Up Charlie is about a former music star who sees a chance to regain his fame when he’s hired as a nanny for the troubled child of celebrity parents. Violence is light and comic: A girl lights a kitchen torch before threatening to mistreat nanny Charlie; a man says when he was young he was punished with "a good beating" when he was naughty. Expect jokes about and references to sex as well as on-screen romance, like when Charlie and a woman go home together from a wedding and kiss in bed while removing their clothes. In another scene, a girl steals a vibrator from her nanny and it buzzes on a tabletop. Language and cursing includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," etc. Characters pass around joints in several scenes and talk about being high, they also visit pubs to eat and drink, though no one acts drunk. Messages of empathy and compassion are clear, and the cast exhibits strong diversity, with a main character of color and many friends who vary in age, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and more.
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What's the story?
The titular TURN UP CHARLIE (Idris Elba) was famous once, his album at the top of the charts, his DJ grooves sought everywhere. But that was a long time ago, and now Charlie's scratching out a meager living, unable to afford to move out of his parents' house, where he lives with his aunt Lydia (Jocelyn Jee Esien). But when his childhood friend David (JJ Feild), now a huge movie star, moves back into town with his marquee DJ wife, Sara (Piper Perabo), and the couple needs a nanny for their daughter, Gabrielle (Frankie Hervey), Charlie sees a chance to work his way back into the big time. The only trouble? Gabrielle is big trouble. And Charlie has no idea what he's in for.
Is it any good?
This warm and easygoing comedy isn't going anywhere surprising, but the characters who inhabit its world are so lovable that you'll delight in spending time with them anyway. Young children are, of course, frequently a tool of redemption in lighthearted narratives like this one, where kids who are less often real people and more often agents of chaos teach Important Life Lessons to the adults who need them. In this regard, Gabrielle is a textbook example of the cinematic brat, delighting in getting her nannies fired one by one. When Charlie becomes the latest to take on the job, she lights a butane kitchen torch and muses, "Now where should I start?"
But this miniature wild child isn't just acting out from pure meanness -- of course, her anger emerges from deep sadness as her busy celebrity parents can't find time to spend with her. That's where Charlie comes in. Oozing with sincerity and kindness, he's quickly swept up in Gabs' plight, despite being distracted by his own career and personal failings. As you've probably guessed, each of these unhappy characters has good times in store, and each gets the ultimate reward they deserve. The magic of Turn Up Charlie is that the sweetness somehow never turns into treacle. It could be sickening. It's not. Binge on, lovers of lovable TV.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Turn Up Charlie's plotline of "child teaches adults life lessons" is a popular one. Do you think kids have a kind of wisdom that adults don't?
Families can also talk about how Gabrielle acts in this show and why. Why does she do the things she does? Why isn't she punished? What would happen if you talked to adults like Gabrielle does, or you did some of the things she does? Are her actions heightened for comic or dramatic effect? Are they realistic?
For kids who love comedy
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