Ruby and the Rockits -- TV Review

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Nothing gets at us like the music of our youth. We scream, dress up and get tattoos and years later are left with a mix of fondness, nostalgia and embarrassment. We are exposed for the soft, emotional fools that we really are.

Which is one of the appealing factors in ABC Family's new series "Ruby and the Rockits," brought to you by a family that knows what pop stardom is like: the Cassidys. Shaun co-created and wrote and produced, and his brother Patrick and half brother David star as one-time music idols who have gone their separate ways. That David and Shaun were, in the '70s, objects of their own pop deification will delight and amuse their likely demo -- grown-up fans grinning at old music videos on YouTube.

It's a piffle of a premise: Patrick is now a car salesman with a wife and two kids (and a not-so-dormant longing for the old days); David has a long-running gig rehashing the oldies at a casino. They rarely speak, but when Ruby, the daughter David has never met, pops up things, as they say, will never be the same.

That's a lot of light and dark contrast, but the show's main problem is its central character. Alexa Vega (of "Spy Kids," all grown up and blond) is Ruby, a bouncy and cheerful girl with a decent voice. But Ruby's mother is dead, she has nowhere to live and her absentee rock-star papa has palmed her off on her uncle's family. Does Ruby have teenage angst, much less resentments? Are you kidding? She takes everything on the chin with such pluck, she stops being believable.

But that might be asking too much from "Ruby"; right now, what you get is a light fantasy with amusing moments that works in a couple of cutesy songs. It's the same unicorn-and-rainbows flavor Disney has been shilling out for years. Which, on some level, makes it practically perfect in every way. This show won't make you scream or get tattoos, but it should blow weightlessly through your mind -- just like a beloved pop song from your youth.

Airdate: 8:30-9 p.m. Tuesday, July 21 (ABC Family)
Production: Shaun Cassidy Prods
Cast: Alexa Vega, David Cassidy, Patrick Cassidy, Katie Amanda Keane, Austin Butler, Kurt Doss
Executive producers: Shaun Cassidy, Marsh McCall
Creator-writer: Shaun Cassidy, Ed Yeager, Marsh McCall
Producer: Al Lowenstein
Director: Ted Wass
Director of photography: Jim Roberson
Production designer: Michael Hynes
Costume designer: Allyson Fanger
Casting: Barbara Stordahl, Angela Terry
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