Grace Under Fire



Comedy with serious themes for teens and up.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series has a positive message about surviving difficult situations. It shows how difficult it is to fight addiction, and how important it is to get out of an abusive relationship. The series also highlights the idea that if you work hard, you can build a better life for yourself and your family. Some stereotying, particularly of Southerners.


References to domestic violence.


Some strong sexual innuendo at times.


MIld: "damn," "crap," etc.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

References to alcohol and drugs related to substance abuse and the fight against addiction.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series deals with some very serious, mature themes, such as alcoholism and domestic violence. The show's humor, some of which is inappropriate for younger viewers (though much of that stuff will go over their head), focuses a lot on stereotypes of the Southern lower middle class.

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What's the story?

GRACE UNDER FIRE, which is loosely based on the life of comedienne Brett Butler, is about the daily life of Grace Kelly (Butler), a divorced recovering alcoholic and domestic abuse survivor who's raising three children on her own. With her tough Southern attitude and lots of sarcasm, Grace finds herself working at an oil refinery, on construction sites, and in cocktail bars in order to earn enough money to support son Quentin (played by both Jon Paul Steuer and Sam Horrigan), daughter Libby (Kaitlin Cullum), and baby Patrick (played by twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody). But Grace doesn't have to go it alone, getting willing help from friends such as wacky high school buddy and next door neighbor Nadine Swaboda (Julie White), her veteran husband Wade (Casey Sander), quirky local pharmacist Russell (Dave Thomas), older sister Faith (Valri Bromfield), and even her sharp-tongued ex-mother-in-law Jean Kelly (Peggy Rea). Occasional boyfriends like refinery manager Rick Bradshaw (Alan Autry) provide both support and additional pressure, as the fiercely independent Grace struggles to balance her personal life with her life as a working-class single mom.

Is it any good?


It's not always easy to start your life over, especially in the best of circumstances. Grace Under Fire reminds us that not only is it possible to start from scratch despite difficult odds, but that you can laugh while you do it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the challenges families face after a divorce. How do you maintain a relationship with a parent who doesn't live at home? How can a family feel whole after a parent leaves? Families can also discuss some of the serious social issues that affect people, such as addiction and domestic violence.

TV details

Cast:Brett Butler, Dave Thomas, Julie White
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

This review of Grace Under Fire was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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