Don't get me wrong. This show is very entertaining, but it also crowded to insanity with way too much teenage angst into it's four seasons and that is also its weakness. A top-notch cast led by Terri Polo (Stef) and Sheri Saum (Lena) as lesbian parents of five kids--one of them, Brandon) is from Polo's earlier marriage before she came out and they have adopted two twin Latino kids, Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Jesus (Jake T. Austin and later Noah Centineo), who have been through the system of foster homes following the abandonment of their parents to drugs and other issues. The show opens just as they come to care for a sister, Callie (Maia Mitchell) and brother, Jude (Hayden Byerly) who have been in numerous foster homes and been rejected for adoption numerous times. Stef is a cop--competent, almost swaggering him her zeal to be right, while Lena is a teacher for a Charter school. The family lives in one of the most gorgeous Arts & Crafts houses in San Diego you've ever seen. There's no way in hell they could afford this and five kids. Stef and Lena try to instill parental control but it's a losing battle from the get-go as these kids do the dumbest things over and over again. They are in constant peril whether through the foster parenting system that sucks, assumes the kids are screwed up, and doesn't protect them to the constant shifting of their own personal stories. So Jude is gay and has all those attendant issues. Callie can't help her attraction to her older foster brother, Brandon, and the two of them nearly wreck their chances at a solid family life through the first two seasons. Mariana is an insecure, if smart and talented young lady, but she's also a bitch and a troublemaker and can't ever keep a secret, which leads to insane plot lines that cause the family no end of troubles. Jesus is sweet and sexy to the girls but dumb as a post. And if that isn't absurd enough consider: Callie, whose mother died when she was fourteen has a rich father who never knew of her existence. He comes on the scene to imperil her adoption. Mariana and Jesus have birth parents too, The mother is a neglectful drug addict and their father is a man who has been false accused of being a sexual offender by the twins' mother and her parents. These young teens--ages 14 to 16 couple, split up, change partners, and do some really dumb stuff. Typical of teenagers, you say? If I were the parent of any of these kids, I'd like them up. They are a danger to them selves and need to be protected--FROM THEMSELVES. This kids experience it all--car accidents, confrontations with the police, show their lack of respect for anyone older than they are, and still the mothers here, though stressed out all the time by the antics of their kids, forgive them. Encourage them. Love them. And wait for the next wave of disasters that are sure to come. I grew up a very sophisticated teenager with a lot of freedom from the age of 12. It was the 60s and I never managed to get into the kind of trouble these siblings are enforced to do by the writers of this show. Marianna is a particularly annoying, but oh, I said that earlier. This lady needs to be locked into her room, her phone taken away, and her outrageous send of entitlement frozen until she's at least 25. Callie can't take on too little causes to justify her need to fix kids lost of the foster system. Brandon needs to be kept away from needy girls. He cannot help but run to their rescue, often with disastrous results. Jesus is just a dumb teenager who never seems to have had a reflective moment in his life. That leaves Justin, the quietest of the quintet. Everybody's ex's show up in this show and the end up living together. It's so weird. THE FOSTERS is good about exploring all subjects: teen pregnancy, gay sex, teen self absorption, the pathetic stage of the foster care system. We see a an attractive, committed lesbian couple taking care of their kids and believe me, these kids are not nearly grateful enough for the little that is asked of them. The show tackles very adult themes. And that's good for teenagers.
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