A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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.
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