Party of Five

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Party of Five TV Poster Image
Soapy but heartfelt classic series has teen angst, some sex.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

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We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Family is the most important thing in life. Teamwork, responsibility, etc., are also themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The siblings aren't perfect, but they grow and learn and eventually try to do the right thing. 


Occasional arguments visible. References to guns. The death of parents is discussed. 


Some strong innuendo, kissing, discussions about wanting and having sex. References to getting "laid." 


Some occasional words like "hell" in later seasons. 


Fictitious coffee houses and other San Francisco haunts featured. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking, underage drinking occasionally visible. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the classic 1990s series Party of Five features themes that are common to teen dramas, including sexual activity, smoking, and drinking, as well as show-specific issues like coping with the death of parents. Over time, themes like infidelity and marriage are also addressed. Most of the stories result in positive, teachable moments, which can be cheesy but are always heartfelt. Occasionally arguments are visible. Throughout it all, the importance of family is highlighted.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDancequeen February 2, 2020
Adult Written bydvdgirl January 15, 2020

Not bad

A good drama about a family sticking together I like how Jennifer love Hewitt was on the show. Good drama.
Kid, 11 years old April 7, 2021

Good show, sex scenes miss the mark

This show has lots of potential: the characters are not perfect and they make a lot of mistakes which are a little irritating. I haven't finished the show... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 5, 2018

The “expert review” is missing a lot

Party of Five is a great show but, whoever common
sense had do this show probably only watched the
first couple episodes. First, Bailey, the second eldest
son... Continue reading

What's the story?

The popular classic series PARTY OF FIVE (1994-2000) tells the story of a close family of siblings forced to make it on their own. When the Salinger parents die in a car accident, their 24-year-old son, Charlie (Matthew Fox), is given guardianship of his brothers and sisters, including teenagers Bailey (Scott Wolf) and Julia (Neve Campbell), precocious preteen Claudia (Lacey Chabert), and infant brother Owen (Andrew and Steven Cavarno, and played later by Jacob Smith). Now living by themselves in their San Francisco family home, they have to work together and manage a very adult life in order to avoid getting split up.  

Is it any good?

This Golden Globe-winning teen drama offers lots of angsty moments as the cast struggles to grow up under difficult circumstances. The show's stories frequently contain life lessons about things like sex, drinking, and other teen-oriented issues. However, it distinguishes itself by featuring young people having to proactively negotiate some extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and shows how working as a family allows them to do so in ways that are both positive and meaningful.  

Party of Five has a very '90s vibe to it, which will potentially make it feel sappy and dated to a new generation of viewers. But viewers old and new may find the younger versions of some popular actors, including folks who appeared in later seasons, like Jennifer Love Hewitt and Scott Grimes, kind of fun. Nonetheless, if you were a fan of the show when it originally aired, watching it again offers a nostalgic experience that will probably make you smile. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the Salingers exemplify teamwork and communication in Party of Five. Why do you think these are important character strengths

  • Do you think making shows like Party of Five and other '90s classics available to watch online will lead to new fans? Or is the purpose to reignite former viewers' interest in them? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama TV

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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