Saturday Night Live

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Saturday Night Live TV Poster Image
Legendary late-night show funny for teens and up.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 54 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

This show is all about satire and parody -- so plenty of iffy behavior appears, but usually within the context of making fun of it.

Positive role models & representations

Role models are mercilessly mocked, and some sexual and racial stereotypes appear, which may offend some viewers (though the goal is always laughs).

Violence

No major violence. Occasional pretend hitting or kicking, but only in an exaggerated, funny way.

Sex

Some obviously simulated sex, provocative outfits, lots of sexual banter and innuendo.

Language

Lots of sexual language and humor. Plenty of mild cursing ("bitch," "hell," "damn," etc.). Lots of plays on words with sexual/racial themes.

Consumerism

Hosts promote their movies, TV shows, or albums; musical guests promote their albums.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Discussion of and simulated use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco within comedy sketches. Not a major part of the show.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Saturday Night Live is a sketch showwith sexual, political, and racial humor that may be too mature for some kids -- but it could also fly right over their head. Stereotypes abound, from ditzy girls to angry black men, and they're treated with differing levels of social critique -- some shallow, some deeper. Due to the show's live nature, occasional curse words or other unplanned activity occurs (such as when Sinead O'Connor ripped up a photograph of the Pope on air). Many parents may remember their own experiences with SNL growing up and should know that, if anything, the show is tamer now than it was in its early years.

User Reviews

Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byRVBDMD January 1, 2014

If you want you kids to know what's going on in the world, let them watch this show

I have been watching this show since it began in 1975. I think SNL is at its best when it reflects the present condition of the American Pop cultural landscape.... Continue reading
Adult Written byMatt B. October 29, 2015

Fun night time show but not always clean humor

SNL has episodes with some potty mouth and perverted humor.
Kid, 11 years old October 22, 2010
I adore the show, but I must say, it is a little inappropriate.
Teen, 14 years old Written bynikki.colts April 12, 2010
Ooooh my gosh I am laughing SO HARD from the review that ProudMotherOf6 posted!! Ma'am, if you're currently reading this review, please know that the... Continue reading

What's the story?

For over 30 years, NBC's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE has been broadcasting comedy sketches and musical performances from Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center. Some of today's veteran comedians started on the show -- Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase -- and it's where a number of contemporary comedy movie stars also got their first big break, including Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, and Will Ferrell. Sketches often parody timely events, politics, and celebrities, providing an astute form of social commentary.

Is it any good?

Over the years, the quality of the show has varied, both from season to season and from episode to episode. But for the most part, Saturday Night Live has been a place to see solid, live comedy with a broad, mature appeal. Other similar shows may have topped it comedically (In Living Color, The Kids in the Hall), but none have endured the test of time to become a living institution like SNL

In the late '90s and 2000s, Tina Fey's smart, biting delivery as the co-host of the long-standing news parody segment "Weekend Update" became a highlight of the show. Her role as both performer and head writer for SNL marked a shift from the 1990s, when series creator Lorne Michaels was under fire for a lack of a female voice on the show. Musical guests, who usually play two live songs during the course of the show, are also top-rate and diverse, ranging from Paul Simon to Britney Spears.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Saturday Night Live's characters -- especially those based on stereotypes -- to ensure that teens understand the layers of comedy. What makes something funny?

  • What is the purpose of satire in our culture? How do you feel when someone you admire is being made fun of -- like a politician or celebrity? What would our culture be like if we weren't allowed to mock authority figures and role models?

TV details

For kids who love comedy

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