How to Be a Gentleman

Common Sense Media says

Odd-couple comedy lacks chemistry, relies on stereotypes.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Male friendship is the central theme, but the show also explores the merits of being "manly" vs. "gentlemanly" (and, more often than not, "manly" seems to win out). Most family and romantic relationships are highly dysfunctional.

Positive role models

Both main characters are pretty stereotypical, and while their unlikely friendship is admirable, most of their choices aren't. Andrew essentially compromises his beliefs in order to "sex up" his column and keep his job, taking the majority of his cues from Bert.


Fist fights, pushing, etc., but all played for comedy.


Sexual innuendo and crude banter ("you're gonna nail her," etc.), with some body part humor. A scene might take place in a strip club, but there's no nudity.


Occasional terms like "bitchiness," "bitch slap," etc.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking and jokes about smoking, with some scenes set inside bars. Drunkenness is played for comedic effect.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sitcom mines laughs from stereotypes about what it means to "be a man," which could send teens some mixed messages about masculinity. There's also some physical fighting played for comedy, along with sexual innuendo and crude banter about "nailing" women, etc. Other language is pretty light (mainly terms like "bitchiness"), and there's some social drinking, too.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When his sister (Mary Lynn Rajskub) gets him a gift certificate for a personal training session at the local gym, tightly wound columnist Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) comes face to face with the one person he never wanted to see again: Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon), the guy who made his high school days a living hell. But the two soon form an unlikely friendship that teaches Andrew how to let go of his outdated notions of HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN.

Is it any good?


When the Odd Couple formula works, it's classic comedy, whether it's the original small-screen team of Tony Randall and Jack Klugman or the cross-dressing Bosom Buddies. But when it doesn't, it just feels like a painful cliche. The two keys, of course, are character and casting.


Unfortunately, Gentleman falls short on both counts; neither main character is well-written or compelling, and together, Hornsby and Dillon have zero chemistry. And that's a real shame, too, considering that the supporting cast includes some consistently funny character actors (Rajskub and Nancy Lenehan) whose talents are largely wasted here.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Odd Couple formula and why it's become such a go-to cliche. Does the use of clear-cut stereotypes help or hinder the laugh factor? Can you imagine what these characters would be like if they were less predictable?

  • How does this sitcom relate to the source material that spawned it (John Bridges' nonfiction book How to Be a Gentleman)? How does it differ in tone and concept? Do the book and the TV show have anything in common besides the title? How do you think the book became a series?

  • What's your take on the gentleman vs. man debate? Is it really so bad to be a gentleman? What does "being a man" mean to you?

TV details

Cast:David Hornsby, Kevin Dillon, Mary Lynn Rajskub
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

This review of How to Be a Gentleman was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Parent of a 11, 12, and 14 year old Written bybroke guy October 16, 2011


well i am a hudge comedy fan and i thought this was going to be hilarious but it was just ok' cleaner than the 2 broke girls thank god' because i am a christian and dont think i can take mutch more trash
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bySpielberg00 October 1, 2011

This is just like TWO AND A HALF MEN. Except one guy tries to be polite, and there's no humor.

Don't bother with this one. It's not really how inappropriate it is that makes it a bad show--the language only goes up to "b--ch"; there's virtually no violence; there's occasional innuendo; characters drink shots--it's just the dumbness.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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