A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
It's a satirical look at the military, focusing on bureaucracy, institutionalization, and how the armed forces can take advantage of soldiers. Any positive messages are filtered through that lens.
Positive Role Models
The cast is male and white, and characters don't always do the right thing to achieve their goals.
Violence & Scariness
Many depictions of planes bombing cities, some where planes are shot out of the sky. In one scene, a bloody soldier hits the window of a plane before dying.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots and lots of female nudity and simulated sex acts.
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Characters use rampant profanity ("f--k," "s--t," etc.), as well as discriminatory language, including dated terms like "mongoloid" and "mentally retarded" as insults.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink and smoke socially.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Catch-22 is a comedy-drama about a group of U.S. Air Force soldiers during World War II. The title refers to a contradictory situation like when the main character, Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), pretends to be crazy in order to avoid combat --but then the fact that he wants to avoid combat proves him to be sane. Fittingly, the show's main focus is how bureaucracy and other forms of institutionalism can create these types of contradictions throughout the military, causing soldiers to suffer and die within a broken system. Many aspects of the show feel dated -- for example, the lack of diversity within the almost all-male cast, and the characters' use of offensive insults such as "mentally retarded." The show features other harsh language, including "f--k" and "s--t," lots of female nudity, and simulated sex.
Is It Any Good?
Hulu's adaptation is well-made and well-acted, with a battery of incredible guest actors, as well as a rising star in Christopher Abbott in the lead role. Joseph Heller's best-known novel has been so widely imitated and deeply influential that it's fair to wonder what new insight it might have to offer in 2019. Unfortunately, that's the thing that keeps Catch-22 from being a capital-G great show: It doesn't seem to have anything to say about our present. The satirical tone keeps us at an arm's distance emotionally from Yossarian and his fellow soldiers' stories, and -- even though the show nails some of the jokes and snappy dialogue -- what was once biting commentary on war and the American military now feels toothless.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.