Ellie Willcock has some serious reservations about the value of this popular teenage comedy
Running time: 23 mins
Overview: Set in an American summer camp Kikiwaka, the story follows the spoilt, city Ross children as they join the camp and get into mischief either by accident or on purpose, and make new friends. It’s a bright, colourful show that is sequel to Jessie.
What I liked:
The show uses simple language but fun storylines to keep it enjoyable.
I liked the way the slow character development ties in well with the timeline of the show.
It was accessible for teens and has a level of sarcasm and slap stick humour which was spot on for the kids I know.
The episodes are largely kind and respectful to people and raise ethical issues. The show introduces topics on things like ’having a crush’ and anxiety.
What I didn’t like:
The language used is mixed. Some may go over a child’s head but it will be pretty clear to an adult who might pick up humour that is quite gross and dirty in terms of the hygiene of the camp as well as making references to more grown up subjects. So it’s worth noting the age rating. This is not an easy watch with a 10 year old!
The plotlines are usually quite clichéd and can be recognised from Jessie or other Disney channel series.
I found that the series would twist uncomfortable situations to make them humorous without explaining what was wrong with the situation in the first place.
I wasn’t convinced by the characters who are portrayed who are quite stereotypical, the main antagonist is a middle-aged woman who is supposed to be in charge of the camp. Her character is still in love with her childhood crush – the kids’ father. But I found the way this plays out to be quite cringe worthy.
Thoughts for Christian parents:
You would be wise to talk about why you some of the characters behave as they do.
There is a running joke that one of the characters has an overbearing mother who focuses very much on schoolwork and rarely rewards them. At the start this was funny, but some of the comments made are quite dark and yet none of the ‘grown-ups’ say anything about it.
It can be comedic and enjoyable and most kids won’t pay attention to the questionable parts of the show; on the other hand older kids might pick up on some of the more serious issues and simply go with it, believing that by adding humour it makes the situation fine. This would be good to discuss.