Scarecrow and Mrs. King TV Poster Image

Scarecrow and Mrs. King

His-and-hers spy series is still fun -- but a little sexist.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

In general, the show stresses the importance of teamwork and the potential for men and women to work well together, while subtly hinting that you shouldn't underestimate someone's value or intelligence. But there are also some dated stereotypes regarding women's interests and abilities.

Positive role models

While Amanda and Scarecrow are partners, she's often portrayed as comically inept rather than competent -- for example, flying a helicopter erratically without knowing how to handle it. As she gets more experience, she does become more of Scarecrow's equal, although in early episodes, her assets seem limited to assisting on "female" matters, i.e. cracking a hidden code on a popular cooking show or uncovering an illegal arms trading ring within a cosmetics company.

Violence

Some physical fighting (including punching and kicking), but no blood. Also bombs, explosions, and use of firearms. Deaths occur, although not in a graphic way.

Sex

Light romantic tension, occasional bare male chest, etc.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Rare social drinking at parties, etc.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's some low-level physical violence (including punching and kicking), but no blood, along with explosions and use of firearms that result in occasional deaths. There's also light romantic tension between the two main characters that eventually results in some onscreen kissing. You'll see social drinking, too, but it's mostly in the background. The female character is often put into stereotypical roles.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

When divorced housewife Amanda King (Kate Jackson) bumps into dashing secret agent Lee "Scarecrow" Stetson (Bruce Boxleitner) at a crowded train station, she inadvertently becomes part of his mission and -- eventually -- his professional and romantic partner. But the more complicated the working relationship becomes between SCARECROW AND MRS. KING, the more difficult it is for Amanda to keep her spy life a secret from her mother (Beverly Garland) and two young sons (Paul Stout and Greg Morton).

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Airing for four seasons on CBS, Scarecrow and Mrs. King enjoyed a good run (along with an Emmy Award for its score and several other nominations), but never got real closure thanks to an end-of-season cancelation. Still, most people who saw it at the time remember it fondly as a fun spy series with admittedly improbable plotlines that a family could generally watch with few content concerns.

Upon second look though, it's amusing to see how much the series relied on rather rigid male and female stereotypes of its day, casting Scarecrow as the worldly and unattached ladies' man while Mrs. King remained largely confined to the world of the grocery store checkout line. And while today's working and stay-at-home moms might not all be instant spy material, they're far more capable and useful than the series would have you believe.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about gender stereotypes and the show's tendency to tie Mrs. King to "women's" interests. Would her character and the subplots of the show be significantly different if it were to air today? How might a modern Scarecrow and Mrs. King interact?

  • How do the levels of violence and sexual content compare to spy shows on the air right now?

  • In spite of its dated references and gender roles, is the series still entertaining for today's audiences? Parents: If you remember watching, does the show live up to your sense of nostalgia?

TV details

Premiere date:October 3, 1983
Cast:Beverly Garland, Bruce Boxleitner, Kate Jackson
Networks:Amazon, CBS
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byQualityWatchers May 13, 2012

Good, clean 80's fun...

MacGyver meets Mission Impossible but better and funnier than both. Pretty clean, especially for an 80's series. There some non-graphic fight scenes, explosions/gunfire and a few interrogations by the bad guys not very suitable for younger viewers (mild). Any suggestive themes are very tame and would go right over younger kids' heads. There's a few uses of "D" and "H" but that's about as bad as it gets. Alcholic beverages are sometimes consumed at social events (for cover purposes), some villians smoke and various drugs are used by the bad guys for interrogations or manipulation. For very young audiences I'd advise parental monitoring. Some episodes are cornier than others but all in all it's pretty much light and entertaining.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking