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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Webster is a 1980s sitcom about a newlywed couple who adopt an orphaned boy. The series paints family life (and the adoptive family experience in particular) in a very positive light, acknowledging the foibles and celebrating the joys of becoming a cohesive unit. Expect some very mild sexual innuendo (kissing and hints at bedroom time, mostly) and some jabs at Webster's small stature within the course of the story (a coach discounts his promise as a football player, for instance), but overall excellent messages for families.
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What's the story?
When ex-NFL player George Papadopoulos (Alex Karras) marries Chicago socialite Katherine Calder-Young (Susan Clark), they anticipate wedded bliss for years to come. What they don't anticipate is the arrival of George's godson, WEBSTER (Emmanuel Lewis), who's placed in their care after the deaths of his father (George's former teammate) and mother. Initially wary of the idea of raising a child, Katherine and George eventually warm up to the idea as they get to know the endearing Webster. The series followed their evolution as a family and the ups and downs of Webster's coming of age. Later episodes saw the addition of Bill (Eugene Roche) and Cassie (Cathryn Damon) Parker as neighbors and friends of the Papadopoulos family.
Is it any good?
Emmanuel Lewis is the shining star of this feel-good sitcom that aired for six seasons in the 1980s. The contrast between Webster and his adoptive parents -- for whom parenting isn't an ingrained skill -- accounts for much of the humor, but it's also the source of emotion in this well-loved classic. Webster and the Papadopouloses prove that the definition of family knows no bounds if love is able to grow, and it's a message that still rings true today.
Despite its decidedly vintage look, Webster continues to be relevant entertainment for families. Kids will be amused at Webster's antics and the endearing relationship he enjoys with Katherine and George. With virtually no concerning content to speak of, this classic is one your whole family can enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what constitutes a family. How does Webster indicate that members of a family don't have to be related biologically? Do you have unrelated friends you consider to be family? What makes them so special to you?
Why is communication so important in families? How does your family keep the lines of communication open? Does technology help you keep in closer touch?
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