Leave It to Beaver

TV review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
Leave It to Beaver TV Poster Image
Classic '50s sitcom is dated but still appealing.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

 

The series reflects the values of the era, which reinforces patriarchal gender roles, as well as ideas like patriotism, hard work, respect for elders, and the importance of family.

Positive role models & representations

The Cleavers are a stereotypical white middle-class suburban '50s family who get along well (too well, some might argue). Ward works, June stays at home, and the kids go to school, play with friends, and date. Eddie Haskell is often a questionable influence on the boys. Minorities are absent.

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff

Wally likes and dates girls. Very benign flirty behavior.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

Episode about alcoholism.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this classic, squeaky-clean 1950s sitcom is an icon of American pop culture. Although it's certainly dated in look and dialogue, many of its themes about growing up, sibling rivalry, social adjustment, and parent-kid relationships are still pertinent today. That said, the fact remains that it's a very isolated look at a white, American suburban middle-class family. Today's savvy school-aged kids may find it unrealistic, simple, or boring (the black-and-white cinematography alone will probably be enough to turn a lot of them off).

User Reviews

Parent Written byemadeva January 16, 2012

Great show for everyone

My 9 year old son asked me "Can I see shows you watched when you were my age?" so I picked this one because of the good morals and good family values... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 year old Written bybunnie911 January 31, 2015

My daughter loves this show

Some have said the show is dated; I guess so it's half a century old. It may be dated but the lessons are timeless and heartwarming. The humor comes from i... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bymiapie456 January 8, 2011

perfect for everyone!!!!

I really like this show! My family watches it a lot because it is one of the only shows that my 5 year old sister can tolerate. she gets scared easily, and this... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 11, 2009

Leave It to Beaver

RSKKZ Rating: G for nothing objective. What Rodni Says: Before I say anything, this show is appropriate for anyone to watch. This show is funny, not always on... Continue reading

What's the story?

This classic sitcom follows the trials and tribulations of the Cleaver family -- little brother Theodore \"Beaver\" Cleaver (Jerry Mathers), older brother Wally (Tony Dow), and doting parents June (Barbara Billingsley) and Ward (Hugh Beaumont).

Is it any good?

Who doesn't respond to LEAVE IT TO BEAVER? It's post-war Americana at its prime and has had a huge following (perhaps even more than when in first aired in the late '50s and early '60s) for decades. Even today, the latest generation is getting to know and love the Beave, Wally, Eddie Haskell, thanks to syndication. At its core, Leave It to Beaver focuses on issues related to growing up and family relationships. While older kids may quickly tire of this clichéd family and their predicable plot lines, younger school-aged kids will probably relate to a lot of the storylines and may also enjoy getting a peek at the life in the late '50s -- the cars, the dress, even the dialogue.

The most obvious objection to Leave It to Beaver is that it represents the less-admirable values of its era along with the good stuff. The characters are almost uniformly white and well-off, and '50s gender stereotypes are out in full force: Ward works, and June stays home to take care of house and kids. That said, Ward does acquiesce to June and treat her as a partner in raising the boys; look past her pearls, dress, heels, and lipstick and you'll find a strong role model, decision maker, and problem solver.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the differences between life now and how it was for the Cleavers then (with the caveat that this was fiction then, too, and that most '50s moms probably didn't spend all day in a dainty dress and pearl earrings). Does the show offer a realistic depiction of family relationships? How are today's families different than the Cleavers? What's the definition of family today? Parents can point out the show's lack of minority characters and talk about the history of the post-WWII Baby Boom generation and how the Cleaver family exemplifies those times.

TV details

Themes & Topics

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