Kenan & Kel

Common Sense Media says

Mischievous adventures of two teens is all about the laughs.

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

There's little recourse to the characters' misguided actions, and their escapades never land them in the kind of trouble that they would in the real world. Often the teens forego schoolwork -- and even school and work responsibilities sometimes -- in favor of more enjoyable things to do, and they never suffer the consequences. There are some touching examples of friendship and family bonds, and the show centers on a nuclear African-American family.

Positive role models

Kenan and Kel's thirst for adventure lands them in plenty of sticky situations, and it's apparent they never learn from their many mistakes. Kel's parents aren't around, and Kenan's don't spend much energy keeping tabs on their son's escapades, unless they're drawn into the fray by the fallout. That said, the guys do value their relationship and often refer to the importance of their friendship.

Violence & scariness

Physical comedy includes scenes of characters running into walls, knocking each other down, and falling, but no one's ever hurt.

Sexy stuff

Flirting and crushes among teens. A 9-year-old is starry-eyed for Kel and often tries to kiss and hug him.

Language

No cursing, but there's some use of "butt."

Consumerism

The show has ties to a series of books featuring the same characters.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series plays for humor the mischievous adventures of two teens who evade the repercussions of -- and therefore never learn lessons from -- their irresponsible actions and ill-advised schemes. A family unit exists for one of the teens (and, by default, the other, since he practically lives there), but the parents seem unaware of their son's escapades and so don't intervene. That said, it's obvious that the show's only intended for humor, and the stars do deliver the laughs with their outlandish circumstances and classic physical comedy.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

KENAN & KEL is a comedy series that follows the misadventures of Kenan Rockmore (Kenan Thompson) and Kel Kimble (Kel Mitchell), best friends who always manage to find themselves in wacky situations.  Kenan works at a local grocery store, and Kel tags along wherever his buddy goes, so each is rarely without the other to lean on when things get out of hand . . . although they quickly learn that in this case, two heads usually isn't any better than one. When they're not out causing mischief, they're usually hanging out at home with Kenan's parents and his younger sister, Kyra (Vanessa Baden), who harbors a longtime crush on her brother's best friend.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This '90s series paired friends and All That cast members Thompson and Mitchell, who complement each other like a modern Laurel and Hardy. Kel's dimwittedness is offset by Kenan's penchant for overzealous get-rich schemes, and every scenario spells disaster in some fashion. The good news is that the zingers come a mile a minute, and if mindless comedy is what you're after, there's plenty of the fluffy stuff to be found here. Viewers will also like the informality of the opening and closing sequences, in which the stars interact with the studio audience.

The flipside of the comedy is that the teen characters never get a chance to demonstrate any responsible or true-to-life behavior, so kids might get the wrong idea from the consistently rosy outcomes of their poor judgment and raucous missteps. What's more, the lone family unit that exists does little to intervene or provide guidance in the boys' lives, leaving them to their own devices most of the time. Ultimately, Kenan & Kel is an adequate comedy for older tweens (though nostalgic adults is the more likely audience), but you might want to follow up with a reality check to be sure your kids know how things work in the real world.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about stereotyping. Do you think this show is an example of stereotyping? What aspects of the characters' lives make you feel the way you do? Would your opinion be different if the characters were another ethnicity? Do you think all stereotyping is offensive? Why or why not?

  • Tweens: Does entertainment always need to have positive messages? Are the "rules" the same for kids' shows as they are for teen and adult shows? Is it possible to learn something from a series or movie even if its characters don't model good behavior?

  • What are your family's rules about screen time? How do you monitor your time limits? Are there shows or movies that are off-limits to you? Do you know why? Do you talk about the things you see on TV? 

TV details

Cast:Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, Vanessa Baden
Network:Nickelodeon
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Friendship
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:Streaming

This review of Kenan & Kel 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.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byibarncat September 3, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Mischevious adventures of two idiots and a baby is teen sitcoms at their funniest.

This show is Dan Schnieder's first sitcom, and arguably his best, with the only possible exception being Victorious. It does NOT have negative messages, because the episodes usually end with Kenan and Kel getting caught in some fashion. Instead, they simply never realize, especially Kenan, that their plans always end badly. That said, this show is very funny because it does show how teenagers sometimes think unrealisitically about a situation that they end up in. Also, the use of them talking to the audience before and after the "shows of the night" is extremely unique and shows why live studio audiences are better than laugh tracks. In short, it's not that relatable to teenagers except in terms of comic personalities, but it is really funny and any late teenagers or young adults who remember this show should be still amused by it.

Adult Written bydr dew November 2, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

fun

i used to watch this when i was a kid and these guys realy know how to make you laugh just make sure if you let your young kids watch that there is a price to pay for acting like this for real though

What other families should know
Educational value
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent Written byCooldee September 12, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Kenan and Kel at their funniest!

The 2 main characters make me laugh!

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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