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 the issue of teen sexuality is central to Welcome to the Family, a sitcom about the forced blending of two very different families after their kids drop the bomb that they're expecting a baby. Sex is more of a discussion point than it is visual; adults frequently refer to their desire for sex (lots of it), and there's some kissing and suggestive touching that implies, but doesn't show, what comes next. Salty language ("hell," "suck it") is a concern, and there are some comical references to a racial divide between the Latino and Caucasian characters. On the upside, the series shows families coping with new challenges, adjusting their perspectives, and, in time, embracing ideas and people who are different from them.
What's the story?
With their daughter, Molly (Ella Rae Peck), safely through high school and planning to leave for college in a few months' time, Dan (Mike O'Malley) and Caroline (Mary McCormack) sense that new freedom is around the corner for them. Meanwhile, Molly's boyfriend, Junior (Joseph Haro), is looking forward to Stanford, and his parents, Miguel (Ricardo Chavira) and Lisette (Justina Machado), couldn't be more proud. All that changes when Molly finds out she's pregnant and Junior decides to marry her and raise their child instead of going to college. Needless to say, neither family is thrilled about the situation, and cultures clash and tempers flare as these very different families get to know each other.
Is it any good?
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY's experienced cast makes good use of comical set-ups and the characters' well-aimed jabs at one another, guaranteeing you'll laugh throughout. The show does dabble in the issue of race, but it's not done in a way that creates a divide so much as muddles what already exists between the two families, showing both to be equally small-minded and judgmental but mostly well-meaning. Ultimately, though, these imperfections make the characters more appealing instead of less.
The show's biggest stumbling block is the glossy picture it paints of teen pregnancy. Given the decidedly jovial tone, it's not surprising that there's little depth to this aspect of the story, but it is worth contemplating the messages it sends to teens about the real-life consequences of sex. If your kids do tune in, you could start good conversations about this and other issues that might be on your teens' minds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media influences our perspective on certain issues. What messages do we get about self-image, popularity, and relationships from TV shows and movies? Do these ever contrast with your personal values? Do you find yourself swayed by them? How can you counteract their influence?
Teens: Is sex a pressing issue among your peers? What are the possible consequences of having sex? Where do you have access to reliable information about issues related to sex?
What is the state of race relations in the world today? Do you think we're in a better or worse position than we were a few decades ago? Is it ever appropriate to incorporate race into comedy? If so, what rules should apply to make it OK?
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