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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wayne is about two street-smart teens who embark on a cross-country road trip, and their travels take them from one high-stakes encounter to the next. It's not intended for kids or young teens due to its excessive cursing, graphic violence, and mature plot. Violent situations include fistfights, gun use (in one scene, Wayne is shot in the face with rock salt from a shotgun), knife wounds, biting (Wayne bites off a man's nose), and even dismemberment by chainsaw, all of which is fairly gory to watch. There are references to sexual topics like masturbation, pornographic magazines, and body parts. Strong language is the biggest offender, though; everything goes (really, everything) and there's no editing. That said, Wayne and Del are exceedingly sympathetic characters despite their many flaws, and you can't help rooting for them to beat the odds and win the day.
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What's the story?
WAYNE is the story of a hard-luck teen (Mark McKenna) who sets out on a motorcycle with his new friend, Del (Ciara Bravo), after his father's death to reclaim a car his dad said was stolen from him years ago. With all they own in their backpacks and burning bridges as they go from Massachusetts to Florida, Wayne and Del find themselves in unusual circumstances just about everywhere they stop, but even more unexpected are the instances of kindness they also experience. Meanwhile, they're hunted by Del's father (Dean Winters), the local police, and a smattering of other people with axes to grind with the rebellious teens.
Is it any good?
This gritty, darkly comedic series earns its mature rating for sure, but it's also oddly heartwarming in parts and a testament (albeit an edgy one) to the resilience of the human spirit. Wayne's life is a series of hard knocks and disappointments, from trouble at school to an absentee mother to a father dying of cancer it's hinted was caused by his job. The final straw is a deathbed confession about a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am that would have been the only thing Wayne inherited from his dad. Suddenly this mature-beyond-his-years 16-year-old finds a purpose and partner just as desperate to escape her own life.
Wayne is not for the faint of heart when it comes to harsh language (especially from teens) or violence (this stuff is graphic, people), but surprisingly, that's not what sticks with you after an episode ends. Instead it's Wayne's dogged determination and Del's slow softening to his somewhat bizarre but commendable moral code, and how the two inspire each other to be better people in a world that seems intent on not cutting them a break. If you can overlook the general illegality of nearly their every move, this oddly endearing series will win you over.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether Wayne and Del are good role models. What positive character strengths do you see in each of them? Do these qualities compensate for their negative ones? To what degree have their respective environments influenced who they've become?
Is breaking the law ever justified? Would you say that is the case in any of what Wayne and Del do on their quest? How do you decide between the rule of law and your own moral conviction when the two conflict?
Does this show's mature content add something worthwhile to the plot? Would the story be as engaging without the violence or the strong language? Is the story appropriate for a younger audience save for that kind of content? What, if anything, could it teach teens?
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