Ben and Kate

Common Sense Media says

Cheeky comedy has heart but is aimed squarely at adults.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In spite of all the characters' antics, there is a positive message: A brother and sister can love and support each other despite their differences and can function as a surrogate family.

Positive role models

All of the characters have flaws that are played for comedy. In the case of the brother-sister relationship, Ben habitually makes poor choices, while Kate is overly responsible, but both show genuine love and concern for each other -- and for Kate's young daughter.

Violence

Occasional slapstick antics, like pushing someone into a pool, etc.

Sex

Some kissing and allusions to sex, making out, etc. (For example, Kate's daughter resulted from an unplanned pregnancy.) Use of sexually charged terms like "BJ," "fanny" (British slang), "getting laid," "boobs," etc. Brief shots of lingerie.

Language

Characters use sexually charged terms and words like "ass," "hell," etc. Stronger language is also suggested, not by bleeping but by characters cutting themselves off mid-stream, usually because there's a child present. For example, a character would begin to say, "f--k!" but would instead say "f ... a, la, la, la, la!" Other suggested terms include "motherf--ker" and "s--t."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The main characters (adults) drink socially, and two of them work in a bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ben and Kate has a child at its center, but its humor is aimed squarely at adults. That means that, in addition to sexually charged terms like "BJ," "boobs," and "getting laid" and words like "ass" and "hell," characters almost use stronger language (including "f--k" and "s--t") -- although it's suggested with clever editing rather than said outright. You'll also see kissing and brief shots of lingerie, with some allusions to sex and making out, along with occasional social drinking and screwball antics.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

BEN AND KATE are an atypical odd couple, a brother and sister who largely raised themselves. While Ben (Nat Faxon) is an unfocused dreamer, Kate (Dakota Johnson) tends to be responsible enough for them both. But her one mistake -- an unplanned pregnancy -- resulted in the best thing that's ever happened to either of them: Kate's precocious daughter, Maddie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

BEN AND KATE doesn't always deliver the laugh-out-loud funny you hope for. But there are times when the writing and acting combine for a charming blend of heart and hilarity that wins you over in spite of its shortcomings. Add a well-cast ensemble of characters, and the potential for goodness, if not greatness, is definitely there.

As Ben and Kate, Faxon (the Oscar-winning co-screenwriter of The Descendants and a graduate of L.A.'s Groundlings improv group) and Johnson (the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) make for strong and likeable comic leads. But the real star in terms of delivery is British import Lucy Punch, who steals just about every scene she's in. Two particularly priceless bits find her offering beauty advice to a pint-sized Maddie and, later, instructing Kate how to be sexy. If nothing else, don't miss those.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the definition of "family" and the different forms that families can take. How do Ben and Kate compare to other sitcom families? How do they seem compared to other families you know in real life?

  • Does Ben and Kate's use of quick editing to cut off strong language make it any cleaner than shows that bleep out iffy words? What are the pros and cons of each method, and which do you prefer?

  • Does cheeky content override the show's generally positive message? Is it a good choice for families with older children, or is it better fit for adult viewers?

TV details

Cast:Dakota Johnson, Lucy Punch, Nat Faxon
Network:Fox
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Brothers and sisters
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

This review of Ben and Kate was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byWayward Girl December 3, 2012
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Hilarious, With Positive Messages :)

Ben and Kate is HILARIOUS! It's the perfect sitcom and it's just... it's great. :) Witty characters, clever scenarios, hilarious dialogue, and heartfelt messages... it's a win-win. Concerns: There is some smexy content/dialogue, but's not overbearing or overdone. Casual sex is implied what with the character BJ, and then with Kate's relationship with her boyfriend. Some language includes heck and dang, but most of the time, Ben avoids using language because of his 7 year old niece, Maddy. Because the show surrounds Ben and Kate raising Maddy, they try their best to be good examples and thus provides excellent messages. I used to prefer The Mindy Project over this show, but after nearly choking on the horrible messages and sexual banter of TMP, I turned to this show instead. No regrets. :)

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written bydr dew September 25, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

seems like a winner

well i screened this show for my family last night after watching new girl and i must say i loved it if u arre looking for a sitcom with good family values this would be ur best bet just be carful with very small kids due to breif language and some sexual humor" witch i found funny"
'and am still "laughing about today: any how better for tweens and up but still good choice because it shows no matter how diffrent ur family may be from u they are still ur family no matter wat so i say give it a chance u wont be sorry ten times better than the new normal

What other families should know
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families