On Alias

The Alias Guide to Parenting

By Britta Coleman

Some fans watch Alias for the show’s stunning plot twists and international conspiracies. Others relish the campy soap aspect of Sydney’s world–the rubber masks, funky gadgets and odds-defying rescues. And some, to be quite honest, are in it for the leather pants. As for me, I’m all about the family values. As a parenting columnist, fiction author and overworked mother of two, I look for life lessons wherever I can. From the first episode, when Jack Bristow handed Sydney the product-placement Nokia phone and inducted his daughter into her new life as a double agent, well, it had me at hello.

Who’s got time to read Spock when there are perfectly applicable examples from television’s most intelligent, dysfunctional and far-flung family?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that everything I know about raising kids I learned on Alias. But I will confess the things I’ve seen in my favorite hour of television make me feel better about my little world.

Here’s what the parenting gurus behind Alias have taught me thus far.

1. When it comes to families, there’s no such thing as normal.

From broken marriages to parenting snafus, from misguided children to double-crossing adults, the clan on Alias isn’t really all that different from the average American household. Honestly, when was the last time you met someone with an ordinary family?

The show’s cast represents a full spectrum of parental authorities. There’s control-freak and ever faithful daddy Jack, the shadowy I-might-be-your-biological-father-yet-I’m-your-mortal-enemy Sloane and the world’s sexiest Ubermom, Irina Derevko. The fact that  …

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