A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Family love is paramount on this show, with themes of communication and humility prominent. Overall vibe is light and sweet, even though heavy topics like death are discussed.
Positive Role Models
No one in the Williams family is perfect, but the adults do their best, and the kids overall are sweet and loving. They all love and support each other despite dysfunctional moments, despite times when they mock each other. Expect some iffy jokes, like when Birdie says her father "cried like a b" (equating him to being emotional and equating emotion to femininity).
Violence & Scariness
Kenan's wife has died and is referred to on the show by terms like "your deceased parental figure." Grief is typically handled with a light touch and jokes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jokes circle around sex, like when Kenan opens up his morning show by saying "I don't care who you slept with last night, as long as you Wake Up with Kenan." Expect Kenan and other characters to date and kiss. Mature moments like an excerpt from the show where Kenan and Cori met, when she played his mom on a sitcom. We see them kissing in a surprisingly sexy way in an outtake from the show.
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Language includes "damn it," "ass," "hell," "sucks," "AF" (stands for "as f--k").
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking/drugs is referred to obliquely in jokes: "You good to drive?" Kenan asks his brother, just back from the clubs in the wee hours. "No, but I'm up for the challenge," replies Gary. Rick holds a cigar but doesn't actually smoke it.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kenan is a sitcom about a father (Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson) who hosts a morning TV show and has become a single parent to his two young daughters in the wake of his wife's death. That loss is referred to both obliquely and directly, in jokes and in stories about her; the family learning to accept her death and move on is a central theme of the show. Family love is strong, and family members are there for each other when the chips are down, even if they sometimes gently mock each other. Jokes may touch on mature topics, like in an outtake from the sitcom where Kenan and his late wife met, when the two kiss in a comically sensual way. Many of the show's characters are single; expect dating and romantic complications. Language includes "damn it," "ass," "hell," "sucks," "AF" (stands for "as f--k"). One character holds but does not smoke a cigar. Themes of communication and humility are evident in the way that family members solve problems and work hard to support each other.
Is It Any Good?
With a lovable vibe and a great cast, this sitcom scores surprisingly often for a show with a gimmicky premise. Liberated from just making people laugh on SNL, Kenan Thompson is alternatively sweet and tart as a single dad struggling to raise his daughters and keep his morning TV career afloat after the death of his wife. He plays both emotion and mockery adeptly; viewers will quickly get to like him and, even more, enjoy the camaraderie between Thompson's Kenan Williams, the twin sisters who play his sweetly cheeky daughters, Chris Redd as Williams' feckless brother Gary, and Don Johnson as Grandpa Rick, obviously on old pro on TV comedies, and here acquitting himself like one.
On the other hand, Kenan doesn't go anywhere unexpected: Kenan, Rick, and Gary spend a lot of their time ribbing each other, and Birdie and Aubrey are wise beyond their years. Mature, too, as they urge their dad in the pilot to start putting himself out there romantically, prospecting on an unnamed dating app for potential new stepmom material. Viewers will easily be able to envision the kind of complications that will arise on Kenan: dates, trouble at school, and foibles at the workplace, since Kenan's morning show is the setting for roughly half of Kenan. But Kenan is still as comforting and as easy to ingest as a warm bowl of oatmeal -- a reliable pleasure, if not a shock to the senses.
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