A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Benson is a positive African-American role model, but his role as butler can be viewed as stereotypical. He's hard working and ethical. Sharp exchanges between the staff are frequent (particularly between Benson, Gretchen. and Clayton), but in the end they're supportive of each other.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
References to dating and romance. Denise and Peter are romantically linked.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional references to drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 1980s sitcom centers on Benson, an African-American butler who goes from being a household staff member to a political player. The show is funny and well written, but it also contains its share of sharp-witted banter that will likely go over the head of younger viewers. Parents also need to know that Benson's job (but, it's important to emphasize, not his behavior) is reminiscent of the 1930s Hollywood stereotype of African-American domestic servants.
Is It Any Good?
Overall, Benson is smart and honorable, and he can be viewed as a positive role model. But no matter how successful he becomes, it's hard to forget that the show's original premise is embedded in Hollywood's early stereotypical portrayals of African-Americans as domestic servants. These competing cultural representations create a tension that's easily (but perhaps unfortunately) overlooked due to Benson's distinguished and intellectual behavior and the show's high entertainment value.
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