Silver Spoons



Cute '80s comedy sometimes touches on serious issues.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Offers a positive image of single-fatherhood and non-traditional family, plus the series is clearly designed to teach positive lessons about how to handle normal tween and teen experiences, like bullies and being offered alcohol.

Positive role models

Edward Stratton III is a single father, and tries to be a good and responsible parent. Ricky often helps friends with their problems, and/or turns to his father for additional help. He sometimes gets into trouble with his friends, but faces some negative consequences as a result.


Contains some minor pushing, shoving, etc. One episode features Edward hiring a bodyguard for Ricky to protect him from a school bully. Others discuss violent issues like child abuse and child kidnapping.


Edward Stratton III fathered his son during a week-long marriage. In a later episode Ricky has a classmate who becomes pregnant.

Not applicable

The LaCoste label is visible on some cast members' shirts. Other popular 1980's logos, video games (like Pac Man), etc. are occasionally audible/visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One episode features Ricky being pressured into drinking. Alcoholism is discussed.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this 1980s sitcom is pretty mild compared to today’s comedy options, but calls attention to some serious issues, including bullying, child abuse, teen pregnancy, peer pressure, and alcoholism. It also contains positive messages about parenthood (especially between fathers and sons), and non-traditional family.

Kids say

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What's the story?

SILVER SPOONS is a 1980s classic comedy series featuring then-child actor Ricky Shroder as Ricky Stratton, a young boy who is sent to military school after his mother remarries. The young Stratton finds his estranged father, millionaire Edward Stratton III (Joel Higgins), in the hopes of moving in and building a relationship with him. The naïve and rather irresponsible Edward finds himself trying to figure out how to be a dad and a positive role model for the son he never knew he had. It isn’t always easy, but luckily they have the help of Edward’s assistant, Kate Summers (Erin Gray), his lawyer Leonard Rollins (Leonard Lightfoot), and occasionally his own father (played by John Houseman), to help him along the way.

Is it any good?


The lighthearted comedy features the traditional and often-silly humor one expects from 1980s sitcoms. But it does address some serious issues surrounding school-age boys that remain relevant today, like bullying, child abuse, teen pregnancy, and coping with learning disabilities.

Some folks may find the series a little dated, but classic TV fans will get a kick out watching actors like Shroder, Jason Bateman, and Alfonso Ribeiro during their early careers. Others may appreciate some of the positive messages about the father-son relationship and non-traditional family that it offers. Overall, it’s a fun viewing choice for older tweens and up.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what their favorite classic TV sitcoms are. Which do you think are better: older sitcoms or what’s on the air today? Why? Why do some sitcoms remain popular years after they originally aired, even if some of what they show is outdated?

  • Talk about the issues the show brings up. Do you think the show's messages about the problems tweens and teens encounter are still relevant?

TV details

Cast:Erin Gray, Joel Higgins, Rick Schroder
Networks:NBC, Syndicated
TV rating:NR
Available on:DVD

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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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Adult Written byLowe's man August 7, 2014

a fine choice for 10 and up

When young Ricky moves in with his father, father and son have a lot to learn from each other. Indeed they do learn a lot together. Occasionally Grandfather Stratton (Edward's father, Ricky's grandfather), played to perfection by John Houseman, shows up. When he does, he- and viewers- see the danger in going overboard with a rigid worldview. He and Edward have their problems, but Ricky is always able to bridge the gap between father and grandfather. Serious issues are discussed occasionally. But even so, this show is still tamer and more lighthearted than most of today's sitcoms. It's also an honest show in that there isn't a "contest" for one character to be funnier than the last one like there is in many of today's sitcoms. It's funny, but it also has a balance between silliness and seriousness. You just don't find that anymore.


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