Cybill

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Cybill TV Poster Image
Fun '90s sitcom has feminist themes and some sexy talk.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Cybill makes mistakes, but she's a good mom, works hard, and perseveres. 

Violence

Lots of arguing and occasional screaming and throwing things, which is comical in nature. 

Sex

Lots of sexy innuendo, including a double entendre when using the name "Dick." 

Language

Words include "damn" and "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking (wine, cocktails, hard liquor) is frequent; a cast member is supposedly a recovering alcoholic but drinks constantly. The Betty Ford Clinic is referenced. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cybill, a comedy series that aired from 1995 to 1998, contains some strong feminist themes, as well as traditional sitcom fare about sex, divorce, child rearing, and other issues. There's some strong sexual innuendo, some occasional strong words like "hell," and lots of drinking (wine, champagne, mixed drinks). While the series may seem mild according to today's edgier standards, it's still best left for teens and adults. 

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What's the story?

CYBILL is a comedy series about a 40-something actress who still can't seem to catch her big Hollywood break. Cybill Sheridan (Cybill Shepard) enjoyed moderate success in the acting business but is now finding it harder to find work thanks to her age. As she strives to sustain her career, she must also deal with her uptight married daughter, Rachel (DeDee Pfieffer), and her snarky high schooler, Zoey (Alicia Witt). Also making her life interesting are her two ex-husbands, Ira Woodbine (Alan Rosenberg) and Jeff Robbins (Tom Wopat). Luckily, she's got her best friend, rich divorcée Maryann Thorpe (Christine Baranski), to offer her unconditional support.

Is it any good?

The well-written comedy consistently presents underlying feminist themes while still remaining lighthearted. Although it features typical sitcom plotlines, like challenges that come with raising kids, dealing with divorce, and financial issues, it centers on the idea that women are often devalued as they get older in professional and social circles. It also underscores the importance of women to be strong, independent, and supportive of each other.  

Those who remember the series will enjoy the show, which features the main character playing (fictitious) cameos in popular series of the time, and Emmy Award-winning performances by Christine Baranski. However, those who are new to the show will find that despite the fact that it originally aired in the mid-'90s, its premise is very relevant today. If you're looking for a fun comedy with a feminist twist, you may find that Cybill is a show worth settling into. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the challenges faced by older women in U.S. society. Is it really harder for older women to find life partners or jobs? Why should a woman's age ever be an issue?

  • If Cybill were to be rebooted, what would it look like? Would anything have to be changed to make the show relevant for today's audiences? 

TV details

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