Laverne & Shirley



Classic sitcom duo is still doing it their way.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.

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.

Sexy stuff

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.

Not applicable

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.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this 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.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

A spin-off of Happy Days, LAVERNE & SHIRLEY is a slapstick-heavy sitcom that follows the adventures of tough-talking cynic Laverne De Fazio (Penny Marshall) and refined, perky Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams), two twenty-something working-class women trying to make it on their own in Milwaukee, Wisc., in the late 1950s. The roommates workat a brewery and enjoy a life full of bowling, dating, and getting out of mishaps. Characters include pesky neighbors Lenny Kosnowski (Michael McKean) and Andrew "Squiggy" Squiggmann (David Lander); Laverne's over-protective father, Pizza Bowl owner Frank De Fazio (Phil Foster); landlady Edna Babish (Betty Garrett), and Shirley's on-again/off-again boyfriend, Carmine Ragusa (Eddie Mekka). Many plotlines revolve around bad dates and the search for the ideal man, and the duo's frequent attempts to help family and friends always lead to hilarious situations.

Is it any good?


While Laverne & Shirley is guilty of some gender stereotyping, it's primarily used to demonstrate 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. Furthermore, their overall choices usually defy conventional gender stereotypes, making them two of television's first liberated women.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it's like to move out of your parents' home and live independently. What are some of the major responsibilities of people living on their own? At what age is it OK for kids to leave the "nest"? Was it the same for young people in the '50s and '60s? Families can discuss the traditional gender roles of the '50s and '60s. How does the show address those issues? Does it reinforce them or try to change them? How does the fact that the show was filmed in the '70s and '80s affect its messages about independence and gender roles two decades earlier?

TV details

Cast:Cindy Williams, Michael McKean, Penny Marshall
Networks:Syndicated, Discovery Family Channel
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD

This review of Laverne & Shirley was written by

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Classic clowning from comic genius; for all ages.
  • Aaaaay! Classic feel-good sitcom is hokey but fun.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byimduuuuuckeeey October 6, 2013

Doing It Their Way

Laverne & Shirley is a really great show that shows that friends will always be together no matter what and definitely highlights friendship. The two often go on dates, sex is discussed (vo-de-o-do-do) and Shirley makes her values known (wait till marriage). The girls briefly work in a brewery, and eventually move to California and get new jobs. Laverne's father wants grandchildren and makes that known. Near the end of the series, (spoiler) Shirley gets married and moves away, with the remainder of the series focusing on Laverne. Their friends and neighbors Squiggy, Lenny, Rhonda, Carmine, Mrs. Babish, Mr. De Fazio and Sonny all help the girls out and are loyal friends to them. Laverne and Shirley are great role models and each show has positive messages.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old November 1, 2011

Great show

Best show ever! This is one of my favorite shows! You have to be about my age (11) or older to get all of the jokes on it though.
Kid, 12 years old December 27, 2010
I love this show! I've seen the first two seasons and I'm halfway through the third. A tv joke has never made me laugh as hard as I did when I saw the episode where they meet Fabian. I think for the show to be fully enjoyed, the viewer should be 11 or 12 to understand all the jokes that would go over younger kids heads, but still good for little kids considering all the physical comedy. Anyone who likes shows like I Love Lucy, Mork and Mindy, or Happy Days should definitely check this one out.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide