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 there's little to worry about in this Disney sitcom about a trio of siblings with magical powers. Each episode offers positive messages about responsibility, honesty, and making good decisions, and characters learn from their mistakes. Teen girls are sometimes portrayed as image-driven and shopping-obsessed, and some mildly rebellious behavior (a girl uses magic to help sneak out of the house for a clothing sale, for example) is common. Older tweens might find the squeaky-clean package a bit on the cheesy side, but it's fine for younger ones.
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What's the story?
To casual observers, Justin (David Henrie), Alex (Selena Gomez), and Max Russo (Jake T. Austin) are typical siblings, living in Manhattan with their parents, Jerry (David DeLuise) and Theresa (Maria Canals Barrera). In truth, the siblings are anything but ordinary: They inherited powers from their dad's side of the family and are actually wizards in training, learning the ins and outs of their magical craft. But despite Jerry's best intentions, their focus often strays from his careful instruction when they realize their powers can be used for more entertaining endeavors. As their magical powers strengthen, Justin, Alex, and Max must learn to control them -- and identify appropriate times for their use -- or run the risk of losing them altogether.
Is it any good?
WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE is full of standard Disney TV fare: a nuclear family headed by two devoted (if often outwitted) parents, tweens and teens with woes that young viewers will easily relate to (a snobby rival who lives to embarrass a teen girl, for example), and squeaky-clean content. There's little here to worry parents of the show's target tween audience; while there's often some mild misbehaving of some sort going on, in the end, important lessons are learned and consequences are faced.
If you're looking for a worry-free series to transition your young tween into the next stage of entertainment, Wizards of Waverly Place might be right up your alley. But don't be surprised if older tweens -- who will easily see through the predictable storylines -- find the package a bit hokey.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how siblings relate to each other. Kids: Do you think the characters' relationships are realistic? If you have siblings, how are the show's characters similar to you and your brothers and sisters? How are they different?
Is it ever difficult to get along with siblings? Why? What do you do then?
Do you think you would be closer to your family if you all shared a secret like the young wizards in the show do?
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