Becker TV Poster Image

Becker

(i)

 

Grumpy doctor has heart; laughs for teens and up.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Becker is cynical and insensitive, but the show also presents strong loyalty among co-workers and friends. Characters are of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds; some are disabled. The show tackles issues surrounding underserved communities, including poverty and lack of medical care. Ethical issues surrounding medical practices are also dealt with; boundaries are pushed to provide health services to the needy, but the medical code of ethics isn't violated. Becker is an outspoken atheist.

Violence

References to violence, including gang violence, but all within the context of receiving medical treatment.

Sex

Contains sexual innuendo (which may go over the head of young viewers); many of the characters are single, so plenty of dating/relationship talk, too. Some making out, but no simulated sex acts.

Language

Mild: "Bitch," "damn," "crap," etc.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent adult smoking and drinking. Prescription drugs are discussed within the context of a patient's medical needs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sitcom's main character is a grumpy doctor who smokes, drinks, and uses a lot of insults to make his point -- not exactly ideal role model behavior. But he also cares about his patients and does everything he can as a medical professional to help them live healthy lives. Parents should also know that this show addresses strong issues -- such as terminal illness, racism, and terrorism -- that may be too sensitive for younger viewers.

What's the story?

BECKER revolves around the life of Dr. John Becker (Ted Danson of Cheers), an intelligent, outspoken, short-tempered physician who has a strong belief in practical medicine and little faith in anything (or anyone) else. A surprisingly loyal staff surrounds the grumpy, Harvard-educated doctor, including levelheaded office manager Margaret Wyborn (Hattie Winston) and eccentric office assistant Linda (Shawnee Smith). And when he's not in his Bronx office, Becker hangs around a local diner complaining about the many things that annoy him to friends Jake Malinak (Alex Desert) and Bob (Saverio Guerra). Twice divorced, Becker also has love-hate relationships with diner owner Reggie Kostas (Terry Farrell) and, later, with cheerful Chris Connor (Nancy Travis).

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Becker both supports and criticizes the American health care system, introducing storylines about children who are successfully living with AIDS, as well as episodes about elderly patients unable to pay for medical treatment. It's in tricky situations like these that the usually bad tempered Becker demonstrates his softer, humanitarian side, going beyond science and reaching into his heart (and sometimes his own wallet) to provide his underserved patients with the best possible care.

Regrettably, these moments of genuine care are sometimes overshadowed by Becker's blunt and borderline-insulting commentary about issues like religion, homosexuality, race, and politics. But, political correctness aside, Becker's interpretations also serve as a platform from which controversial issues can be discussed. And it's in this way that this sitcom, like Becker himself, has something meaningful to offer.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the role of medical professionals in our daily lives. Do you like the way doctors treat you when you see them? Why are some people who really need medical treatment unable to afford it? Families can also talk about how people go about discussing the things that bother them. What does it mean to be politically correct? When can political correctness go too far? Do you think people like Becker ever say things just to make people angry? What purpose does that serve?

TV details

Premiere date:November 2, 1998
Cast:Hattie Winston, Ted Danson, Terry Farrell
Networks:Syndicated, TBS
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bywolfbear87 April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byhabibid9421 May 24, 2009
Parent Written byRealityQueen07 August 29, 2016

Funny, Inappropriate and Classic

The series follows a middle -aged GP who lives in The Bronx and runs a small local clinic with the assistance of his receptionist, the wise-cracking Margaret with a tough-love approach and the sweet, well-meaning but clueless Linda, his assistant. Becker is shown to be rude, opinionated and hateful as he often rants about many trivial things that annoy him in his everyday life. However, at times, especially during his work, he is shown to have a heart and is genuinely passionate about his work. Becker and many characters throughout the series is foulmouthed with words like damn, bitch and crap being the most prominent. Talk of relationships and sex is also shown in the series. Bob, a main character until season six often hits on Reggie, the owner of the diner Becker visits regularly. Becker, Jake, Reggie, Chris, Bob, Linda and occasionally Margaret make a number of sexual innuendos throughout the series as well as minor or guest characters. Linda's outfits are shown to be slightly provocative which makes her popular with the male characters but she is often creeped out by their advances. Many jokes are also made about race, gender stereotypes, homosexuality and many other political jokes (Becker has a strong dislike of President Nixon). Becker has a general hate of the world (although he has been in multiple relationships throughout the series and is shown to have a heart deep down). However, Danson and the supporting cast pull it off and make you want to punch Becker in the face yet understand him at the same time. Great show.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking