Kate & Allie

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Kate & Allie TV Poster Image
80s fave about single moms, friendship, and fun.

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

Positive Messages

Kate and Allie are best friends who rely on each other as they rebuild their lives after their divorces; with their children, they form a strong family unit. There are some discussions of unfaithful and unstable partners, but usually within the context of the women becoming empowered. The cast is Caucasian; one episode features Kate dating an African American.


Teen and adult dating, including some kissing and making out. Mild references to infidelity and sexual behavior, most of which will go over younger viewers' head. Some episodes include lesbian relationships as part of the storyline (Kate and Allie's landlady is gay; Kate and Allie at one point pretend to be gay so that their rent won't go up).


Occasional references to film or TV stars (like Paul Newman). Jennie, an aspiring singer, occasionally sings popular '80s music.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Smoking, wine, and hard liquor are occasionally visible.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this hit '80s sitcom -- which follows two best friends who combine households after getting divorced -- highlights some of the tricky issues that arise as a result of divorce and blending families together. Teen and adult characters date (though kissing is about as "graphic" as it gets), and there's some mild (especially by today's standards) sexual innuendo that will likely go over younger viewers' heads. Some episodes include discussion of topics like infidelity, and the show in general looks at the changing roles of women in society.

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What's the story?

Hit '80s sitcom KATE & ALLIE focuses on two women who find that friendship and humor are the keys to surviving life after a failed marriage. When high school buddies Allie Lowell (Jane Curtin) and Kate McArdle (Susan St. James) both find themselves newly divorced and facing single parenthood, they decide to move in together and move on. So -- with Kate's daughter Emma (Ari Meyers) and Allie's children Jennie (Allison Smith) and Chip (Frederick Koehler) in tow -- they start afresh in a basement apartment in New York City's Greenwich Village.

Is it any good?

Life as a blended family isn't always smooth for the free-spirited Kate and the more straitlaced Allie. But the women rely on their strong friendship to get them through the tough times while they focus on building happy lives. Together they struggle with achieving financial security, raising their kids, and facing their fears about dating and starting new romantic relationships.

Along with issues related to divorce, single parenthood, and non-traditional families, the series also focuses on the transition of women's roles during the '80s. Allie evaluates her sense of self-worth after surviving a marriage with a cheating husband, while the more-confident Kate strives for respect and gender equality in the workplace. The best part is that even with all those heavy topics in play, the show is still lighthearted and fun (though later episodes include major lifestyle changes for the gang that fail to capture the show's original spirit). It successfully captures some of the major issues faced by aging female (and some male) Baby Boomers in the mid-'80s.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's like to live in a blended family. What are some of the challenges that come with merging two families? Are television's examples of blended family realistic? Can you think of other shows that feature blended families? Families can also discuss women's changing roles in society. How are divorced women and/or single parents seen now? How were they seen when this show originally aired in the '80s? Has a lot changed? What's different?

TV details

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