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 this sitcom follows two men coping, with varying degrees of success, with the changes that come as they turn 60 -- including grandparenthood, widowhood, and retirement. The show's overall message is a positive one about living life to its fullest at any age. Parents also need to know that the series deals with some mature subject matter that may rule it out for younger viewers, including artificial insemination and single motherhood. The show also contains some innuendo and homosexual references, most of which is likely to go over kids' heads.
What's the story?
TWENTY GOOD YEARS revolves around Dr. John Mason (John Lithgow) and Judge Jeffrey Pyne (Jeffrey Tambor), who have both spent the greater part of their lives becoming well-respected members of their community. When John is forced into early retirement, he realizes that he needs to find a way to live an exciting, rewarding life during the 20 or so good years he figures he has left. Not wanting to begin this journey alone, the excitable, spontaneous John actively recruits the safe, reserved Jeffrey to help find new ways to live life to its fullest. While trying to recapture their youth, the pair must also cope with the choices their children have made. John's level-headed daughter, Stella (Heather Burns), is a single mother, while Jeffrey's son, Hugh (Jake Sandvig), has left college to become a male model. The men also find themselves thinking about their past decisions, including John's three failed marriages and Jeffrey's decision to end a three-year relationship.
Is it any good?
While John and Jeff's plans and projects are sometimes over the top, overall, Twenty Good Years presents a positive message about friendship, love, and living life to the fullest. What's more, it sheds light on issues not typically addressed by network TV -- namely, that plenty of "senior citizens" are vibrant and adventurous, even though society often fails to treat them as important, active members.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how society views and treats people over the age of 60. What are our expectations of people we view as "senior citizens"? How have those expectations changed over the decades as life expectancy and health have increased and 60 has become "the new 40"? Overall, does our society treat its elders with respect or neglect? Families can also talk about close friendship and family relationships. Do you have friends that you think you'll "grow old with"? Which of your family members have made interesting or different choices when deciding how to live their lives?