Melissa & Joey



Former child stars' sitcom has grown-up edge.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show celebrates the bonds that exist among family members of all types. Traditional gender roles are reversed, with a woman as the primary breadwinner and a man overseeing the kids’ needs and caring for the home.

Positive role models

Mel takes her responsibilities to her niece and nephew seriously and strives for a healthy relationship with them. Joe’s methods are unorthodox, but he always manages to drive home important lessons about being responsible, appreciating others, and valuing education. 

Not applicable

Adults discuss details of their relationships, sometimes alluding to sex. Some passionate kisses. Mention of strippers and a woman looking like a “hottie.”


Multiple uses of “ass” and “hell,” as well as words like “suck,” “screw it,” and “pissed.” Also some references to body parts (“vagina”) and name-calling, like “buttface.”

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Mel frequently makes references to her wild teen years, which included plenty of underage drinking. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that even though it stars former child actors Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence, this sitcom isn’t meant for tweens. The characters’ dialogue often refers to issues like underage drinking, sex, and marital unrest. Language -- including multiple variations of “hell” and “ass,” as well as frequent use of words like "suck" and "screw" -- is also on the strong side. That said, the show does center on a strong female character who’s dedicated to balancing her work and personal lives and ensuring the well-being of her niece and nephew, and it aims to convey messages related to responsibility, appreciating others, and the importance of family ties.

What's the story?

MELISSA & JOEY centers on rising political star Mel (Melissa Joan Hart), whose fast-paced lifestyle gets a little more hectic with the arrival of her niece, Lennox (Taylor Spreitler), and nephew, Ryder (Nick Robinson), who end up in her care after their mom gets sent to jail and their dad skips town. In over her head, Mel decides to hire a nanny -- but fate sends her an unlikely rescuer in the form of Joe (Joey Lawrence), an unemployed finance guru who becomes the family’s surprisingly capable “manny.”

Is it any good?


First the good news: Hart and Lawrence could easily build careers playing opposite each other, with the chemistry they established in the TV movie My Fake Fiance carrying over to this new endeavor. Even in Mel and Joe's dislike of each other onscreen, it’s easy to like the combination they create, and the show benefits from their presence. Unfortunately, the show as a whole doesn’t quite measure up to the standards of its stars. Like the frazzled Mel, viewers are always one step behind the action, trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the show’s frantic pace.

Still, there are some sweet moments as the show's unlikely family makes small progress in bonding, and the gender-role shake-up -- with Mel furthering her career and Joe holding down the fort at home -- livens things up. But overall, the show doesn't live up to its stars, and the use of strong language (mostly “ass” and “hell," but there’s a surprising amount of it) and references to underage drinking and sex ensure that it’s not for tweens.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about family members’ roles within the household. How are responsibilities assigned in your home? What are your chores? Does gender play a role in who does what? Why or why not?

  • What defines a family? How has that definition changed over the years? How does the media reflect that change?

  • Teens: How do you deal with adversity? What resources do you have to cope with the difficulties in your life? What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome? Was the experience rewarding?

TV details

Cast:Joey Lawrence, Melissa Joan Hart
Network:ABC Family
TV rating:TV-14

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old August 29, 2011

Awesome Show!!!

My mom and I love this show we watch it together all the time!! Its one of my fave shows!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Adult Written byMovieLover92 April 15, 2013

Started out kind of rocky but it has improved

I will admit that the first half of the first season was a little rocky but after that I think the show started to get its groove. This goes to prove that you can't judge a show by the first episode. It is a working progress. Melissa and Joey have great chemistry and you never known when they are going to box each others ears off or if they are just going to kiss each other. There are so few good family sitcoms anymore that last more than a season. I really hope that Melissa and Joey lasts for as long as it can.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old September 15, 2010

Great and funny show!

[QUOTE=jameymff]Melissa and Joey is a nice show if your in the mood to chuckle. It has a positive energy and is a feel-good comedy! Love it![/QUOTE] He read my mind. Also, parents, make sure you watch the show before your kids do.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages


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