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 classic sitcom from the 1960s is full of lighthearted gags and silly, surreal elements. Traditional, now-dated male-female dynamics provide the basis for the show and some of its humor -- Lisa's lack of cooking skills is a constant source of comedy, for example. But other than that (and some smoking), there's not much to object to.
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What's the story?
In the classic 1960s sitcom GREEN ACRES (a spin off of Petticoat Junction), a rich New York City couple moves to the fictional rural town of Hooterville to fulfill the husband's dream of being a farmer. Naturally, hilarity ensues. While Oliver Douglas (Eddie Albert) loves the fresh air and quiet surroundings (if not all of his new neighbors), his wife, Lisa (Eva Gabor, in jewels and feather boas) misses the luxuries of city life (although her new home eventually grows on her). The classic fish-out-of-water framework provides much of the show's humor as the Douglases interact with their goofy farmhand Eb (Tom Lester) and the rest of the Hooterville population.
Is it any good?
Green Acres is full of slapstick humor and oddly surreal elements -- like the fact that the Douglases have to climb the telephone pole in front of their house to use the phone, or the fact that they treat the neighbors' pet pig like a human child. Sometimes characters even address the audience directly, which was an unusual comedic element for the time. Lisa's malapropisms (like Gabor, the character is a Hungarian native) also draw laughs.
Green Acres is lighthearted comedy with an old-fashioned feel. The jokes that rely on gender stereotypes -- like those making fun of Oliver's ability to make good business decisions, or Lisa's inability to cook -- seem so outdated now that they're not funny and may leave today's kids scratching their heads. While the show is suitable for all ages, it will probably appeal most to adults who remember it nostalgically.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the differences between city and rural life. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each? If you live in the city, can you imagine living on a farm? What about vice versa? Where do kids want to live when they grow up? Families can also discuss how the show portrays men and women. Do modern TV shows do the same thing? How are they different?
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