Leave It to Beaver TV Poster Image

Leave It to Beaver

Classic '50s sitcom is dated but still appealing.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

Wally likes and dates girls. Very benign flirty behavior.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Episode about alcoholism.

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).

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:October 4, 1957
Cast:Barbara Billingsley, Jerry Mathers, Tony Dow
Network:TV Land
Topics:Book characters
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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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 it taught. Both of my children love this show. Even though it's old, it does not bore us. It really teaches a lot of good lessons in life.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
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 incredibly well written scripts and situations the boys and parent have to work through and do what is right. It reminds me of Mark Twain. The Cleavers are unlike families in modern comedies where parents are buffoons and the object of ridicule from snarky children. The parents and the children have flaws and make mistakes, but in the end, there is a rich life lesson to learn from those mistakes. My daughter is eight and she absolutely loves leave it to beaver. For us it is a nightly ritual.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
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 show is so funny and innocent. perfect for everyone!