Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Haunted Hathaways

The Haunted Hathaways

Spring 2014 Television
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Producer: Nickelodeon
Rating: TVY

Casper the Friendly Ghost ushered in the notion that some spirits are simply misunderstood while The Brady Bunch introduced viewers to the idea of blended families. If you combined those two program's premises, you would have Nickelodeon's live action comedy, The Haunted Hathaways.

The sitcom relates the madcap mash up of a newly relocated divorcee and her two girls into a ghost-filled home in the heart of New Orleans. Mom Michelle is trying to start a new bakery, while tween Taylor is just trying to fit in, and young Frankie is a bit of a Goth and loves horror movies. Lucky for Frankie, the house comes with four rooms, two baths and three ghosts: Jazz musician Ray and his two sons Miles and Louie.

First at odds with each other, the two families decide to coexist together. The idea is that typical family squabbles are all the more hilarious when half of the clan is invisible to regular folks. Granted, paranormal is a hot topic on TV, and the ghost bit works for the physical gags, but it's a one note gag that runs its course rather quickly. When ghostly pranks don't work, the show moves on to burps and farts. Sophisticated, this ain't. The show avoids the idea of death—especially that of a whole family and kids—in favor of the silly and supernatural.

Laura Fries   ©2014 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and 20 year member of the Television Critics Association Laura has been writing about television and film entertainment for more years than she cares to admit. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alexandria, Virginia.

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