Family Tree

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Family Tree TV Poster Image
Mockumentary comedy boasts subtle humor, strong language.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Although it's constructed as a mechanism for comedy, the main character's earnest exploration of his roots nets some surprising family connections and brings him closer to his father. Kids who watch might also be inspired to look into their own family trees.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the characters are meant to be goofy -- not necessarily good role models. But the main character is a likable everyman with ultimately sincere motives for learning about his ancestors.


Sexual humor is suggestive rather than overt, with brief jokes about masturbation and intercourse. The main character inherits a box of family heirlooms that includes a Victorian dildo and a used jock strap, etc.


Audible language includes "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," "ass," and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Light social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Family Tree gets slapped with a "mature" TV rating mainly for its language (which includes unbleeped instances of "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," etc.), although salty talk isn't constant. Along with the swearing, you'll also hear sexually charged jokes regarding masturbation and intercourse that are cheeky, but hardly graphic. There's some light social drinking, too.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

When his great aunt leaves him a box of curious heirlooms in her will, down-on-his-luck bachelor Tom Chadwick (Chris O'Dowd) embarks on a quest to learn more about his inheritance with help from his father (Michael McKean), his sister (Nina Conti), and an old friend (Tom Bennett). But the twisty branches of his FAMILY TREE yield surprising secrets -- and an oddball assortment of quirky characters.

Is it any good?

There's a reason Christopher Guest is best known for his trademark "mockumentary" comedies and not necessarily for his own acting in other people's projects. (Fun fact: Did you know that he was the six-fingered man in The Princess Bride?) The main reason is that he pioneered the genre with his seminal rock-doc This Is Spinal Tap, which would inspire generations of writers and directors and ultimately spawn the likes of The Office and Parks and Recreation. But the other reason is, he's great at it.

Family Tree marks Guest's first foray into small-screen comedy, and he's delivered all the goods we've come to expect from his subtly hilarious feature films (including many of his go-to improv actors, from McKean and Ed Begely Jr. to Bob Balaban and Fred Willard). But with the addition of Bridesmaids' O'Dowd as the likable everyman lead, we also get a fresh face we don't mind following along a rambling trek through England that ultimately leads to America -- and a lot of laughs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the "mockumentary" style has been used successfully in other well-received series like The Office (both the original British comedy and the American adaptation), Extras, and Parks and Recreation. What are the pros and cons of the genre? Would Family Tree work as a traditional comedy?

  • Family Tree is writer-creator Christopher Guest's first television series. How does it compare to his critically acclaimed mockumentary comedies, including Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, and Waiting for Guffman? Which of Guest's trademark film techniques pop up in this project?

  • Have you ever looked into your family history? How has the internet -- and easier access to online historical records -- affected the popularity of genealogical research and shows like Who Do You Think You Are?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate