Parents' Guide to

Arrested Development

By Marjorie Kase, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Brilliant, innovative comedy for mature viewers.

Arrested Development Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 18+

Great show! But not for your kids.

This is a great show, but definitely not for kids. Depending on your child, seniors in high school who are around 18 may be old enough for this very adult comedy. Any child younger than that should be kept from this series. There are very few positive characters, and even those who try to do good often find themselves following right along with the others. Even though there isn't excessive violence or sex in this show, it is filled with adult concepts and ideas that most kids won't understand and may misinterpret.
age 16+

Witty, mature comedy for older viewers only

This show is positively excellent! Arrested Development is witty, dark, intensely funny, and full of astute observations on American culture. The Bluth family's mindless consumerism, low intellect, and dysfunctional relationships provide most of the laughs. It's chock full of great moments, a few heartwarming scenes, and lots and lots of mature humor. It definitely needs the right audience. I've watched every episode, and content certainly varies. There is extremely inappropriate language (which is bleeped, but clever references in following sentences let the viewer know EXACTLY what was being said). There is lots of sexual content that deals with incest (several major plot points center on incestuous and oedipal relationships), womanizing, masturbation, coercion, affairs, and etc. (nothing is shown, but the dialogue runs the gamut of topics). There is vapidity, lots of drinking, intense consumerism, and mind-blowing arrogance that make almost all members of the cast horrendous role models (which, of course, is the point). Finally, the way that the members of the Bluth family treat both their own and others is careless and crass. While the content is ok for older high school students, the older the viewer, the more they pick up on the nuances of the story.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16 ):
Kids say (52 ):

This series was rightfully the most critically acclaimed show on television during its original run on Fox, from 2003-2006 (the show was revived for a fourth season by Netflix in 2013 after attracting a large, devoted fan following over the years). The plotlines are incredibly bizarre, unique, and hilarious. The acting is superb, and the direction allows for subtlety that isn't possible in a standard three-camera sitcom.

All of that said, this show is definitely NOT for kids. Much of the humor is so quick and subtle that it's most likely to go over their head, but aside from George Michael, the lack of goodwill in any of the show's characters (as well as all of the mature story elements) makes Arrested Development best reserved for adults and mature teens.

TV Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate