3rd Rock from the Sun

Common Sense Media says

Slapstick classic offers unique social commentary.

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

Although the series' primary intent is to amuse, it also explores various social issues by looking at them through the aliens' eyes. The Solomons pose as an extended family unit. The cast is primarily Caucasian; a regular supporting character is African American, and some of Dick's students are from various racial/ethnic backgrounds. One secondary character is believed to be a lesbian.

Violence

Luckily, the aliens aren't allowed to liquidize humans, but they occasionally slap and hit each other (in one episode a team member is hit with a frying pan on the head several times). It's all played for physical-comedy laughs and is meant to be funny rather than violent.

Sex

Occasional kissing and hugging, plus some sexual innuendo, including references to nudity and sexual intercourse that will likely go over the head of young viewers. The aliens sometimes find themselves in romantic relationships. Later episodes show men and women lying in bed together after being intimate. Sally sometimes discusses being impregnated to further the human race. In one episode, Dick poses nude for an art class (but no nudity is shown). Some restrained references to homosexuality.

Language

Words like "damn" and "hell" are occasionally heard.

Consumerism

Occasional references to brands and store names like Walmart, usually when the aliens try to figure out what they mean. Sally gets to know designer labels (like Ferragamo).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional visible beer and wine consumption.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this '90s sitcom looks at life on earth from a unique point of view. There's a bit of racy content -- expect some sexual innuendo (most of which will go over the head of younger viewers), some hugging and kissing, and, in later episodes, images of men and women in bed together -- but overall it's on the tamer side. The show's slapstick brand of humor incorporates some slapping and hitting (like repeatedly banging someone's head with a frying pan for laughs), and there's some mild language ("damn," "hell") and drinking.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN, which originally aired from 1996-2001, is an award-winning slapstick comedy about a group of aliens exploring life on Earth. John Lithgow stars as the mission's high commander, who lives among humans as physics professor Dr. Dick Solomon. Posing as his sister, Sally, Kristen Johnston plays his first officer in charge of security, while his intelligence officer pretends to be his teenage son, Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The team's quirky communications officer poses as Harry (French Stewart), Dick and Sally's rather dimwitted brother. Although mystified by things ranging from gender differences to leaving tips at restaurants, the Solomons must find a way to blend in among humans. But their rather quirky behavior consistently raises the eyebrows of folks like landlady Mrs. Dubcek (Elmarie Wendel) and makes some of Dick's university colleagues -- including anthropologist Mary Albright (Jane Curtin) and administrative assistant Nina Campbell (Simbi Khali) -- absolutely crazy.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Intelligently written and well acted, 3rd Rock generates lots of laughs as viewers look at humanity through the aliens' unique point of view. Much of the humor comes from each character's specific (mis)understandings of how people see themselves and build relationships with one another. But while the space invaders' interpretation of human logic is often flawed, their way of thinking tends to highlight many of today's social ironies.

The show has plenty of silly moments, but it really isn't intended for younger kids, given all of the sophisticated social commentary that lies behind the slapstick. Younger viewers may not get it, but teens and adults will find things to both laugh and think about for years to come.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the different ways that TV shows can offer social commentary. Do all sitcoms offer some sort of social insights? Which ones are particularly known for offering that kind of message? Are the messages as obvious when they're mixed in with broad humor? Families can also discuss what it would be like for aliens to adjust to life on Earth. How do you think they would view the things you do every day? What do we take for granted that might confuse beings from other planets (or even other cultures)?

TV details

Cast:French Stewart, Jane Curtin, John Lithgow
Network:Syndicated
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of 3rd Rock from the Sun 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.
Read more

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, 13 years old Written bykellipetrelli October 30, 2010
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

BEST SHOW EVER

I love this show. My dad and i watch it every day. Good laughs. It's the one sshow EVERYONE in my family likes. I grew up on this show, and i think everyone should share the joy and laughs my daddy and i had growing up.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 June 10, 2012
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

3rd rock sun

Families can talk about the different ways that TV shows can offer social commentary. Do all sitcoms offer some sort of social insights? Which ones are particularly known for offering that kind of message? Are the messages as obvious when they're mixed in with broad humor? Families can also discuss what it would be like for aliens to adjust to life on Earth. How do you think they would view the things you do every day? What do we take for granted that might confuse beings from other planets (or even other cultures)?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bycnp77 December 10, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Super funny show

Hilarious show and completly addicting. I watch it with my whole family and I started watching it when I was 13.

Poll

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

Poll

What are the different ways that you access Common Sense Media ratings and information? (Check all that apply)

Essential Apps Guide