A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Laverne and Shirley are independent but must contend with the double standards that exist for men and women as well as the traditional female roles of the time (the show is set in the late '50s and early '60s). Friendship and loyalty are strong themes, particularly between Laverne and Shirley and Lenny and Squiggy. The cast is Caucasian, but many of the characters are of Italian and/or Polish heritage. The characters are from a working-class background, and occasional plots highlight this fact. Frank De Fazio exhibits chauvinistic behavior, and Mrs. Babish has been married eight times.
Positive Role Models
Characters demonstrate integrity and teamwork.
Violence & Scariness
Plenty of physical comedy and pratfalls, and some slapstick-like pushing and shoving. One specific episode suggests that Laverne was at risk of being raped by a blind date.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Occasional kissing and mild sexual innuendo that will go over the head of young viewers. Shirley is a prude and refers to sex as "vodeo-doe-doe." Occasional discussions about the double standards that exist for men and women when it comes to sexual activity. Laverne is sexually active and has a pregnancy scare.
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Products & Purchases
Pepsi bottles are visible, and the product is referred to often (Laverne likes to drink Pepsi and milk). Squiggy likes to drink Bosco chocolate flavoring.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol (especially beer) and tobacco products are occasionally visible and consumed. Some characters appear drunk as part of the comedy sequences.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Laverne & Shirley is a classic slapstick sitcom is about two young women living and working on their own in Milwaukee in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Their desire to live independently is often challenged by the traditional gender roles of the time. The series stresses the importance of friendship, loyalty, and family. Alcohol (mostly beer) is visible -- the girls work in a brewery, after all -- and characters sometimes get drunk. The show's mild references to sexual activity will easily go over kids' head.
Is It Any Good?
While the show is guilty of some stereotyping, the main characters' overall choices usually defy conventional gender roles, making them two of television's first liberated women. The series demonstrates the tensions that exist between Laverne and Shirley's desire to be true to themselves and the traditional expectations placed on them as women in the late '50s and early '60s. While both women look at men as potential marriage material, they're not willing to stay with someone just for the sake of getting married.
It's worth noting that the show suffered considerably after the characters left Milwaukee for L.A. in the sixth season; several regular cast members eventually left, and things just weren't the same. The first five seasons are definitely the ones to watch.
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.
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