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Up All Night
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 has adult dialogue that references sexual topics like "doing it" and "making out," and couples are affectionate (kissing, embracing in bed) with each other on screen. Salty language ("ass," mostly) is occasional, although most of the rough stuff -- like "f--k" and "s--t" -- is bleeped. The show is best appreciated by adults who will identify with the characters' struggles with new parenthood, but its themes about open communication, respect, and healthy relationships are worthy of teens' time, too. Watch out for examples of drinking as a coping mechanism, and use the instances to talk with your teen about the real-life consequences of alcohol use.
What's the story?
UP ALL NIGHT stars Christina Applegate as Reagan Brinkley, a new mom who's trying to juggle the demands of parenthood, family life, and a successful career. Reagan and her husband, Chris (Will Arnett) -- who gave up his law career to stay home and raise their daughter -- are the poster parents for the modern family, and with no how-to manual to guide their way, they're just making it up as they go. Balancing their new roles as parents with their nostalgia for their pre-baby days makes for some rough patches, and the nagging demands of Reagan's eccentric boss, Ava (Maya Rudolph), further complicate the Brinkleys' life transition.
Is it any good?
Parenthood and comedy go together like peanut butter and jelly in the TV world, and many a sitcom has relied on the follies of child-rearing for staying power on the tube. Up All Night's talented cast helps viewers overlook its recycled premise, and modern families will appreciate that it shakes up the traditional family make-up by making Mom the breadwinner and Dad the homemaker. There's also an honesty to the content that reflects the issues that real families face, giving grown-ups a chance to chuckle over woes to which they likely can relate.
Teens might get a kick out of some of the scenes -- particularly those featuring Rudolph's outrageous portrayal of an Oprah-esque, co-dependent TV personality with larger-than-life dreams -- but it's really meant for those viewers who can identify with Chris and Reagan's predicament. If teens do watch, though, they'll come away with the sense that although life is never perfect, the journey is worthwhile when love and communication exist within the family structure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the struggles they face. Is it difficult to balance school, work, hobbies, and family time? How do you ensure you're giving proper attention to every aspect of your life? What routines in your household help keep you on track?
Teens: How is drinking portrayed in this show? Does it have a positive or negative connotation? Is it OK for such a serious issue to be a source of humor on TV?
What qualities are important in a healthy relationship? How can outside factors affect a relationship? How do you foster your own friendships or connections with loved ones?