Hollywood Game Night

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Hollywood Game Night TV Poster Image
Celebs compete (and drink) in zesty, loose game show.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The focus is more on fun than on positive messages and games are lowbrow rather than Jeopardy-smart: putting pictures of Brad Pitt in chronological order rather than questions about literature and history. Celebrities play to win $10,000 for a charity of their choice; these charities are mentioned prominently.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Contestants treat each other mostly respectfully and compliment each other on their work.


Occasional double entendres and some sex jokes, as when Martin Short climbs on top of Lisa Kudrow and pretends to be groping her when the show comes back from commercial. Lynch then says he was "humping" her.


Very occasional language: "Who gives a damn?"


Brand names and packaged products are frequently shown onscreen and named as parts of a game, as are movies and celebrities.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Contestants drink during the game and Lynch encourages viewers at home to play drinking games while watching.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hollywood Game Night is a zesty game show featuring celebrities competing on behalf of average folks that has potential to be fun for the whole family. The main issue of concern is the amount of drinking depicted, as well as the host's encouragement to home viewers to drink along with the contestants. There are some mild sexual jokes and references, such as when Lynch refers to one celebrity contestant "humping" another. Cursing and offensive language is rare, but there may be some mild epithets such as "Who gives a damn?" Products such as brands of chips are prominently mentioned and their packages shown onscreen as part of a game; celebrities (including some parents may not wish their kids to know about) and their movies and television shows (and charities) are also frequently mentioned.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byDesiree O. June 28, 2017
Adult Written bymardoggie2013 November 20, 2014
Teen, 14 years old Written byDogcat June 2, 2020
Teen, 15 years old Written byNvG Nick January 26, 2016

Hollywood Game Night Review

One of my favorite game shows of all time, HGN is O.K. for families but very fun and entertaining.

What's the story?

On HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT, two teams of four made up of three celebrities and one average person compete in games for the shot to win $25,000 (for the non-celeb) and/or $10,000 (for the famous one) for charity. Contestants go head-to-head to play games like identifying close-up pictures of salty snack foods, acting out the films of Tom Hanks, or putting pictures of Johnny Depp in chronological order. Correct answers are awarded points; the team with the most points as the hour draws to a close can play in a bonus round and earn the cash. Meanwhile, host Jane Lynch keeps things moving along, and makes sure that contestants' wineglasses are kept full.

Is it any good?

Primetime game shows featuring funny people were a staple of 1950s TV, and the genre made a comeback in the 1970s, with shows like The Match Game and Hollywood Squares holding down hallowed spots in family-night viewing schedules. Since that time, game shows have gotten both more serious (think Who Wants to be a Millionaire) and more reality-show-ish (think Big Brother). So a throwback like Hollywood Game Night, with famous faces playing goofy games, stands out and seems fresh. Plus, it's tailor-made to the viewing tastes of fortyish parents who remember how funny Richard Dawson and Gene Rayburn were in their youth and want to recapture that game-show fun with their own kids. 

Jane Lynch is certainly a loose-limbed and quick-witted host, plus she's honest with her contestants. "You guys were terrible at that game," she admonishes one team who made a poor showing. "Just awful! Go sit down!" Hey, that's what we wanted to say, here on the couch. Ha, that's funny! The celebrities featured on Hollywood Game Night are ones you like: Kristen Bell, Lisa Kudrow, Fred Armisen, and the atmosphere is fizzy and late-night wild: contestants dance with each other, they hold each other's arms so they can't push the buzzer, they insult each other's hair. The silly banter mixed with fun games such as identifying celebrity portraits painted by elementary-school children all adds up to a fun laugh-out-loud hour that's great for family viewing, provided that parents don't mind the onscreen drinking.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the benefit of appearing on a show like this. Why would a celebrity appear on a show like Hollywood Game Night? Do you think it's all about earning money for a charity? What could be another motivation?

  • Do you think all the celebrities featured on Hollywood Game Night actually like each other? How can you tell? Do they act like they like each other?

  • Average-folk contestants on Hollywood Game Night can earn $25,000; celebrities can earn $10,000 for charity. How much do you think NBC makes in advertising revenue during an hour-long show like Hollywood Game Night?

  • Why do celebrities on game shows always compete for charities? What would people think if they won money on a game show that they could keep?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 11, 2013
  • Cast: Jane Lynch
  • Network: NBC
  • Genre: Game Shows
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: March 13, 2020

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