Bosom Buddies

 
(i)

 

Classic Tom Hanks sitcom isn't a drag.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show plays to dated gender stereotypes including references to "dumb blondes." On the plus side, the main characters usually mean well, and the show presents a strong relationship between childhood friends.  The few ethnically diverse characters are often criminals or service workers (except for Telma Hopkins' Isabelle). 

Violence

Some shoving and pushing, but these actions don't cause any real harm.

Sex

Some lighthearted sexual innuendo (which all seems pretty tame by today's standards), which will probably go over the heads of younger viewers. Subtle references to homosexuality.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some limited adult consumption of wine, beer, and tobacco products.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this '80s sitcom (which still airs in syndication) centers around two men who pretend to be women in order to live in a cheap apartment. While their donning of drag isn't sexually motivated, it is dishonest -- although the dishonesty angle is downplayed in favor of wacky hijinks. The show also demonstrates some dated gender stereotyping, and the dialogue has its share of sexual innuendo (most of which should go over the heads of young viewers). Kip and Henry's relationship is a good example of a strong, positive friendship between men.

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What's the story?

In classic '80s sitcom BOSOM BUDDIES, two best friends move to New York City to pursue their dreams, only to find themselves donning wigs and dresses to get by. When their apartment building is unexpectedly demolished, aspiring ad men Kip Wilson (Tom Hanks) and Henry Desmond (Peter Scolari) find affordable living arrangements at the Susan B. Anthony house, a women-only residential hotel. In order to live there, Kip and Henry must become Buffy and Hildegard (Kip and Henry's \"sisters\"), when they enter and exit the building. The unlikely plan is successful thanks to friends who help the guys keep their secret, including co-worker Amy Cassidy (Wendy Jo Sperber). But their gender-bending antics make dating challenging -- although that doesn't stop Kip from trying to pursue a romantic relationship with pretty blonde neighbor Sonny Lumet (Donna Dixon).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Bosom Buddies contains its share of dated racial and gender stereotypes, sexual innuendo, and homosexual subtexts. But despite its implausible premise and occasionally frat house-type humor, the show does have many funny moments -- looking back, it's impossible not to see Hanks' star funnyman power just waiting to be tapped.

Perhaps a bit unexpectedly, the show's humor doesn't always stem from the men's feminine attire, but rather from the tensions that emerge as the friends begin to pursue separate interests. In the end, Bosom Buddies is really about friendship's power to withstand even the most unconventional challenges.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the different ways that gender is presented in the media. Why do so many shows and movies fall back on stereotypes when dealing with gender issues? Issues of honesty and ethics are also relevant. Do you think what Kip and Henry are doing is right? What other alternatives do they have? Families can also discuss the importance of friendship. Do you think you could live with your best friend? What kinds of challenges would you face?

TV details

Cast:Peter Scolari, Tom Hanks, Wendy Jo Sperber
Networks:Syndicated, TBS
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of Bosom Buddies was written by

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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; OK 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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