TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
MADtv TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Rude, crude SNL wannabe. Proceed with caution.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 19 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This ribald show is not in the business of promoting any values other than a good laugh. Celebrities and authority figures are mocked, stereotypes and disabilities are played for laughs, and so on.


Occasional fist-fights, played for comedy.


Rife with sexual innuendo and implied sexual situations.


Words like "ass," "nuts," "sucks," "bastard," "bitch," and "tard" are thrown around.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Hard-core drinking is depicted and cigarettes are used as props. Implied drug use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that many of the series' sketches explore sexual themes, include explicit terms, and imply drug use and excessive alcohol consumption. American institutions, from the presidency to Oprah, are all fair game for spoofs and satires, some of which may not make a lot of sense to younger viewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydolphinlover9 April 9, 2008
Parent Written byCooldee April 2, 2010

For children ages 14 and up.

Watch out for the foul langauge and any illegal activities!
Teen, 15 years old Written bylinglingrocks218 April 9, 2008

this show rox!!!!

this show is so funny! It's kind of like "All That". I think this should be for 11 and up.
Kid, 10 years old June 18, 2015

Good but inappropriate

This show is definitely not for kids. Ithas strong language like f**k,S**t,ass,hell,and damn.

What's the story?

MADTV, which airs new episodes on Fox on Saturday nights and is syndicated as part of Comedy Central's late-night rotation, takes a page from Saturday Night Live and In Living Color and entertains audiences with sketches that skewer celebrities, film, music, politics, and other pop culture fixtures. Over the years, the series has produced scores of offbeat characters, including Stuart (Michael McDonald), a dim-witted man-boy who lives with his crazy mother, and Jaq the UBS Guy (Phil LaMarr), an annoying, hyperactive mailman. It has also featured scores of guest stars, from Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, and Jackie Chan to Queen Latifah, Drew Barrymore, and Green Day.

Is it any good?

Like its namesake magazine, MADtv purposely pushes the limits of decency to the breaking point. It's more tasteless and less wry than SNL. In one episode, for example, a slimy male character says, "Give me a 68. That's where you give me a BJ and I owe you one." Another sketch portrays a buxom blonde doctor unable to carry on an intelligent conversation with her patient.

Still, there are moments of brilliance. In a scene in which a woman driving an SUV is pulled over for speeding, when asked the make of her car, she replies, "2003 Earth Destroyer."Since each episode's content is unpredictable and almost certainly in questionable taste, only mature teens should tune in.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's brand of humor. Why is satire funny? What makes it work, and when does it fail or fall flat? How do you know when a joke's gone too far? Also, how do you think the writers come up with their ideas? What would you pick as a topic if you were coming up with a sketch for the show?

TV details

Our editors recommend

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