Kenan

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Kenan TV Poster Image
Some iffy humor and language in sweet family comedy.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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

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.

Sex

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. 

Language

Language includes "damn it," "ass," "hell," "sucks," "AF" (stands for "as f--k"). 

Consumerism
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. 

What 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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old March 12, 2021

Great show, people are biased

This is a funny, lighthearted show to watch with kids. I would show it to a two year old, but for more strict parents this is 4+.
Teen, 15 years old Written byLoranikas303 March 3, 2021

What's the story?

After the death of his wife, Cori (Niccole Thurman), KENAN (Kenan Thompson) is getting through life with a stiff upper lip. Yes, he can keep his morning show hosting gig on track, raise young daughters Aubrey (Dani Lane) and Birdie (Dannah Lane), and he can do it perfectly, thank you very much. He even has his supportive if eccentric father-in-law, Rick (Don Johnson), and carefree brother Gary (Chris Redd) to help him out. But when things start going wrong both at home and at work, Thompson realizes he's going to need more than just his family's help to make it. 

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. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Kenan compares to other family-centered shows. Does the content seem more or less realistic than that of other such shows? Do the central relationships seem nontraditional to you? How are they different from other sitcom families?

  • How does your family compare to the characters in this show? What aspects of your family might be considered nontraditional? How do the characters change over the course of the series? In what ways does this show emotional growth on their part?

  • How do the characters in Kenan demonstrate communication and humility? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sitcoms

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate