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

Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street

Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 6 - 11 yrs.
Producer: Amazon Studios
Rating: TV Y7

Gortimer Gibbon has an unusual name but other than that, he's a pretty normal teen. What is extraordinary is his patience to recognize, and contemplate, the moments of deep meaning in a world that might otherwise whiz by in a haze of mundane distractions. Program information says it's aimed at 'tweens and young teens but even high schoolers are likely to enjoy this sincere and artistic storytelling.

Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street is a live-action half-hour program available on Amazon Instant Video, and it is a welcome and reassuring alternative to the glut of programs glorifying hyper-sexualized and hard-partying teens.

Gortimer (Sloane Morgan Siegel) and his best friends Ranger (Drew Justice) and Mel (Ashley Boettcher) live in a typical suburban neighborhood; their homes are even situated on Normal Street. But there's an other-worldly vibe in the air there and mystical events motivate the plotlines. In one episode, Gortimer faces the usual teen dilemma of responsibilities that eat into his social life, so he decides to clone himself. In another episode, the teens search for a fabled lost treasure in their neighborhood. And in a particularly poignant episode, Gortimer's friend Mel attempts to travel back in time to save a loved one. That particular episode, titled "Mel vs. The Future," is emblematic of the series' greatest achievement: Using quirky storytelling to explore themes that are actually quite common in the real world. It takes strong character and solid friendships to cope with life's biggest challenges, and it takes courage to examine events for their deeper meaning.

Teen viewing options can be depressingly superficial but thanks to top-notch production value, smart direction, thought-provoking scripts, and nuanced performances, Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street will resonate with teens as they navigate a path fraught with complex emotions and demanding responsibilities on their way towards young adulthood.

Gina Catanzarite   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

Look for this product at:
Amazon Studios

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