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Get Smart

Classic spy parody offers laughs and some dated stereotypes.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series is a parody of the spy genre, but it also makes social statements about the current events of the time like the Vietnam War and the Cold War. Gender and ethnic/racial stereotypes are frequent and fit into the show's cultural context.

Positive role models

No real role models here, though the main characters are clearly good guys fighting the bad.


Guns and rifles are visible and often used; unique weapons (and gadgets) are also fired and explosions are common. Smart is often called upon to recapture nuclear weapons of some kind. Punching, kicking, and other physical altercations are frequent. Blood stains are occasionally seen, but wounds are usually invisible.


Contains some mild sexual innuendo that will go over the heads of young viewers. Hugging and kissing is occasionally visible. There is some romantic tension between Smart and Agent #99.

Not applicable

Smart’s weapon of choice is his trusty Berretta.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Per the norms of the time, cigarette, pipe, and cigar smoking is common and frequent.  Alcohol consumption (wine, champagne, hard liquor) is occasionally visible. There are very mild references to drug use in some episodes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this award-winning classic spy parody is mild enough for tweens, but younger kids may not be drawn to (or even get) some of its humor. It also contains lots of gun activity, fantasy violence, and some mild sexual innuendo that will probably go over their heads. As was typical for the time, cigarette, pipe, and cigar smoking is also frequently visible; occasionally the cast is shown drinking alcohol (wine, champagne, hard liquor). It also contains some stereotypes and jokes that are not considered politically correct by today’s standards, but reflect some of the political and social climate of the time.

What's the story?

GET SMART is an Emmy-award winning comedy series that spoofs the world of espionage. The parody stars Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, a loyal but inept secret agent who is called upon to battle KAOS, an evil organization trying to take over the world. Guided by Chief (Edward Platt), his boss at the U.S. government counter espionage unit CONTROL, Smart -- AKA. Agent #86 -- uses lots of cutting edge spy gadgets and his own version of common sense to try to capture the bad guys. Luckily, clever Agent #99 (Barbara Feldon), a poorly trained spy dog named Fang, and even a robot named Hymie (Dick Gautier) assist the blundering agent with restoring world order.

Is it any good?


The cult classic, which aired from 1965-1970, pokes fun at the popular spy genre of the time, already made popular by James Bond films, and TV series like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Avengers, by mixing satire with slap-stick comedy. Over the years it also used its humor to make subtle statements about major political issues of the time, including the Cold War, the conflict in Vietnam, and U.S. domestic policy. 

While the show contains some material that may be unsuitable for younger children, including gun violence, sexual innuendo, smoking, it is still mild by today’s standards. It also contains a lot of gender and racial/ethnic stereotypes, which also serve as indicators of the political and social climate of the time. But taken in context, Get Smart is a funny, well-written, and intelligent series that that comedy lovers are sure to love.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes a comedy a parody. What is the purpose behind spoofing someone or a situation? What’s the difference between spoofing someone and being sarcastic? Is it always easy to tell the difference? Can a parody ever go too far?

  • Classic films and TV shows often feature attitudes and/or activities (like stereotyping and smoking tobacco products) that were considered OK when they were originally created, but that are no longer viewed as appropriate and/or healthy. Why were they seen as acceptable practices then? What has changed/not changed over the years? Parents: Check out some suggestions on how to talk to your kids about some of these issues.

TV details

Premiere date:September 18, 1965
Cast:Barbara Feldon, Don Adams, Edward Platt
Networks:NBC, CBS
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD

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Kid, 10 years old August 30, 2010

A great show

A funny TV series. Get smart contains mild violence
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byMartian86 June 4, 2010

Watch this, not the 2008 knockoff

Absolutely love this show. I have all 138 episodes on DVD, and love them.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 10 years old September 29, 2011

A timeless masterpiece...

A fantastic series. A bit violent perhaps, and some of the jokes many children won't get, but it is just spectacular in all.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models