What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this upbeat series is about kids let loose in a peer-dominated world where privilege is a way of life. Tween viewers are going to love the California coastline, the sunny days, and easy life. Parents might cringe for the same reasons.
What's the story?
In ZOEY 101, Zoey Brooks (Jamie Lynn Spears) and her younger brother, Dustin (Paul Butcher), are new students at Pacific Coast Academy, which was formerly an all-boys' boarding school -- and is still a place where most students live priveleged lives and get everything they want. Spears (Britney's younger sister), is no stranger to the small screen. She's been a regular on All That, Nick's answer to Saturday Night Live. Tweens are going to love her in the role of Zoey -- a fair-minded heroine who befriends all kids who come her way, even when they're a bit awkward or geeky.
Is it any good?
Zoey and her peers live in an utterly unreal world, where her character confesses during a truth-or-dare type game that "Once, I burped in church." This is admitted by a kid wearing full makeup and a miniskirt. How do innocence and being expected to make adult choices co-exist in the 21st century? Let's hope that kids viewing this show go a little deeper for answers than these characters.
Nick has kept Zoey 101's plot pretty shallow for a reason: Without adult supervision, kids in the circumstances that they appear in this program would get into a lot of trouble. But besides some bickering and tricky behavior, these are pretty well-mannered kids. Fantasy? You be the judge.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether these kids are growing up too quickly in certain ways. They're expected to problem-solve like adults and even to work on top of dealing with homework and normal hormonal challenges. Is this pure fantasy, or do kids in boarding school really have it this sweet?
In what ways are the characters themselves realistic? In what ways aren't they?