Ben and Kate
By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Cheeky comedy has heart but is aimed squarely at adults.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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 & Scariness
Occasional slapstick antics, like pushing someone into a pool, etc.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main characters (adults) drink socially, and two of them work in a bar.
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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.
Where to Watch
Based on 1 parent review
seems like a winner
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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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- Premiere date: September 25, 2012
- Cast: Dakota Johnson, Lucy Punch, Nat Faxon
- Network: Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
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