ER TV Poster Image

ER

Excellent, but the ER is no place for children.
  • Network: NBC
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1994

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Despite the show's frequently mature content -- themes include teen pregnancy, abortion, rape, incest, racism, sexism, mental illness, psychological issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, and more -- there are also messages about persistence, hard work, teamwork, and compassion. Additional themes include communication and empathy.

Positive role models

The doctors and nurses are often heroic -- and they always try to do the right thing for their patients -- but they're also complex, flawed people. They have flings/affairs, give in to temptation, lie, defy authority, and more.

Violence

Graphic, bloody injuries. Patients are often outraged, psych patients throw temper tantrums, and doctors have been held at gunpoint and threatened -- and murdered -- in the ER.

Sex

Doctors occasionally hook up (which leads to passionate kissing and suggested sex), and/or viewers see "the morning after." No sensitive body parts are shown.

Language

Four-letter words are used infrequently -- often toward doctors from angry patients. Also words like "tits," "hell," "bitch," "a--hole," etc.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Both doctors and patients grapple with drug and alcohol addiction; smoking, social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that ER is an intense medical drama with graphic situations (lots of blood and surgeries) and mature storylines that  isn't for young audiences. Death, disease, and physical injuries are in every episode. Rape, neglect, physical abuse, spousal abuse, teen pregnancy, abortion, and incest have all been plots, sometimes involving young kids and teens; some patients have serious psychological ailments. The sexual relationships between doctors are often at the center of the drama. Parents will want to watch with their teens and be prepared for a follow-up conversation. If you allow your teens to watch, make sure they're comfortable seeing gross visuals of blood and surgeries.

What's the story?

ER is an Emmy-winning medical drama series based in the emergency room of a busy Chicago hospital. Created by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park) and John Wells (The West Wing, Third Watch), the series centers on the medical professionals in the hospital. ER has turned out stars such as George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, and Noah Wyle; guest stars have included Sally Field, who received an Emmy for her role.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

This series is an excellent medical drama that has remained popular for good reason, but it's not appropriate for kids. With its emotionally wrenching scenes, images of graphic and bloody injuries, focus on death and disease, and heavy plots that range from domestic violence to abortion, ER is just too intense for tweens and many younger teens.

In addition to all the death and tragedy, episodes often focus on the ER doctors' personal lives, which involve affairs, love triangles, addiction, terminal illness, and more. In fact, the doctors have nearly as many problems as their patients. For example, Dr. Green (Anthony Edwards) dealt with a brain tumor, remission, a new baby, a new marriage, and a return of his illness in a matter of two seasons. Still, the show's impeccable writing and memorable characters made it a mainstay on NBC for a decade.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether or not they think the situations presented on ER are realistic. How do the doctors cope with their highly stressful jobs, make tough decisions, and deal with life-and-death situations?

  • Are the characters intended to be role models?

  • How do the characters on ER demonstrate compassion, communication, and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Premiere date:September 19, 1994
Cast:Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Noah Wyle
Network:NBC
Genre:Drama
Character strengths:Communication, Compassion, Empathy
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Awards:Emmy, Golden Globe

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Adult Written byhotdogchick April 9, 2008

John Stamos Rocks!!!!

John Stamos plays Tony; really really good! I want to see more! Don't go off the air; ER!
Teen, 15 years old Written byGrant April 9, 2008

I LOVE THIS SHOW

I LOVE THIS SHOW
Adult Written bynoelrocks April 9, 2008

ER ROCKS ON NBC!!!!

ER IS A GREAT TV SHOW! I LOVE IT! NOW THAT JOHN STAMOS IS IN IT! I LIKE JOE! HE'S SUCH A CUTE BABY BOY! DO YOU?