Spin City

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Spin City TV Poster Image
Comedy with a political spin for teens and up.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Good example of professional and political loyalty; highlights strong friendships among a professional group. Also acknowledges homosexuality in the political spectrum. But the show also contains frequent sexist references as well as occasional references to homosexual stereotypes.


Frequent sexual innuendo. Some making out, but no simulated sex acts (though many are implied, none are shown). Lots of casual (and some serious) romantic relationships between the characters. Characters shown in bed together (clothed).


Relatively mild, such as "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional adult consumption of alcohol, including beer, wine, and hard liquor. Adult use of tobacco products, such as cigar smoking and cigarettes, is sometimes visible.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sitcom revolves around issues related to politics and the media. But it's also a workplace comedy, and the mayor's staffers trade plenty of zingers and innuendo-laden comments (some of which may go over the head of young viewers, but still). One character in particular, Stuart, frequently makes sexist remarks. The show features an openly gay character, and there are occasional references to gay stereotypes. Most of the characters are single and have active dating lives, so there's plenty of relationship humor, too.

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What's the story?

SPIN CITY centers on Deputy Mayor Michael Flaherty (played by Michael J. Fox of Back to the Future and Family Ties) and the staff of fictitious New York City Mayor Randall Winston (Barry Bostwick), providing a comical look at how political staffers attempt to "spin," or manage, the media's coverage of political events. Mike's main goal is to keep the usually fumbling mayor looking good in public, and he's assisted in his efforts by a quirky group of political enthusiasts that includes sarcastic assistant Nikki Faber (Connie Britton); chauvinistic chief of staff Stuart Bondek (Alan Ruck); gay, African-American head of minority affairs Carter Heywood (Michael Boatman); socially inexperienced but brilliant speechwriter James Hobert (Alexander Chapman); and blustering press secretary Paul Lassiter (Richard Kind). Jennifer Esposito joined the cast a couple of seasons in as mouthy assistant Stacey Paterno, replacing Victoria Dillard as Janelle Cooper, and in season 4, the mayor's decision to enter the New York Senatorial race heralded the arrival of campaign manager Caitlin Moore (Heather Locklear), whose strong competitive streak rivaled Mike's -- and led to some juicy sexual tension between the two. Even later in the show's run, after Fox departed due to his battle with Parkinson's Disease, Charlie Sheen stepped in as new deputy mayor Charlie Crawford.

Is it any good?

No matter who was in charge of the mayor's office, Spin City abounded with witty repartee and sexually tinged innuendo (or, in Stuart's case, outright propositions and sexist remarks). It's a clever sitcom sure to appeal to adults and older teens, but it's not for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's like to work in politics. What kinds of things do political staffers do? What are some of the challenges of working for an elected leader? Families can also talk about how the media portrays our political leaders. How much does the media contribute to how we perceive them? Our willingness to vote? Issues pertaining to gay rights and politics can also be discussed, as can the relationships between the characters. Do most people spend this much time with their co-workers?

TV details

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