Strangers with Candy TV Poster Image

Strangers with Candy



After school-special spoof is an acquired taste.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Jerri is a former junkie, prostitute, and jailbird who makes multiple references to her past behavior "in the joint." She's always happy to ditch her dorky friends in favor of the popular kids. The teachers are far from models of good behavior. The show as a whole is designed to send up the neat lessons of corny after school specials.


Physical comedy, but all harmless.


Blatant sexual innuendoes ("I like the pole and the hole"); sloppy kissing for the gross-out factor. Jerri hits on both boys and girls.


Derogatory remarks can be offensive, including "fag", "p--sy", "whore."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking weed, and some drinking. Lots of references to past drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this satirical comedy (which has a strong cult fanbase) contains mature humor and is geared toward adults. Jokes are crude and can be racially, sexually, and socially offensive. The series' intention is to poke fun at the ridiculous nature of the after school specials and "very special episodes" that were so popular in the '70s and '80s.

What's the story?

Created by Sedaris, Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report, The Daily Show) and Paul Dinello, STRANGERS WITH CANDY positions itself as a spoof on the once-popular after school specials of the '70s and '80s. The show describes its main character, Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), as "a boozer, a user, and a two-time loser" -- she's a 46-year-old ex-prostitute and former junkie who, after being released from prison, decides to pick up where she left off -- high school. So it's not surprising that Jerri is picked on by everyone in school, including art teacher Mr. Jellineck (Dinello), science teacher Mr. Noblet (Colbert), and Principal Onyx Blackman (Greg Hollimon). Jerri quickly comes to the realization that after being a teenage runaway for 32 years and returning to high school, "the faces may have changed, but the hassles are still the same." Each episode of Strangers with Candy ends with another twisted lesson Jerri has learned, always described in her own words.

Is it any good?


In its short run (1999-2000; it still airs in reruns and is available on DVD), Strangers with Candy became a cult favorite and attracted variety of guest stars, including Will Ferrell, Winona Ryder, and Steve Carell (The Office). A big-screen version hit theaters in June 2006.

The series can be offensive on a number of levels -- it almost seems like Sedaris' goal to mock as many groups and institutions as possible -- but keep in mind that it's intended for mature viewers. If you like Sedaris' brand of humor, you'll probably dig the show, but it's definitely not for everyone.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the series' off-beat brand of humor. Is it smart, sarcastic, or over the top? Why is making fun of something considered funny, and when does mocking go too far? Is Jerri funny or repulsive? Why? Do any of the subjects dealt with in the show come up in teens' own lives? How do they deal with them? Teens may need a brief intro to the history of after school specials.

TV details

Premiere date:April 7, 1999
Cast:Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, Stephen Colbert
Network:Comedy Central
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

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Adult Written byJeffRC March 4, 2012

Hilarious show, but not for younger kids

I love the show, but it first began to air when I was 17, and I feel like it is appropriate for that age, or maybe just a year or two younger. There is lots of sexual innuendo, but nothing terribly explicit. It pokes fun at after school specials, but in the end, Jerri always ends up learning the wrong lesson (drugs are bad unless they help you win, sexually transmitted infections are something to be proud of, promiscuity is a badge of honor, and such). If a child is old enough to understand that this is all satire and that these lessons are the exact opposite of what is really right, then its not a bad show for teens, but younger kids might get the wrong message. There is lots of talk of previous drug use, the the only drug use that occurs on screen is smoking pot a couple times. I love it, and it's one of my all time favorite shows, but it takes the right type of person to appreciate the dark humor, and it certainly isn't appropriate for younger kids.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written bythisSisPOSSESSED January 16, 2011

Brilliant for a certain sense of humor.

Oh, this show. It's absolutely hilarious. Jerri Blank's over-the-top innapropriate humor is something to be laughed at rather than cringed at. (if you're of the right age, of course.) My father loved it and my sister loved it and so do I, although my mom doesn't. It all depends on what kind of humor you find funny. She has a diary that she calls her "Dirty, dirty jew diary" and I remember at one point she pointed out that she was "moist as a snack cake down there." There is also a blantant gay relationship between her english teacher and her art teacher. But, as I've said, if you like that kinda humor then you'll love it. I wouldn't suggest showing it to kids though until they're at least 15/16, or older if they are the kind that would take a negative influence to heart.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byTwainSlimWriter April 29, 2012


PLEASE! These after school specials of my childhood created more monsters than they ever solved. I remember so many specials about childhood sexual abuse which had sex scenes between adults and kids. In and of itself, how was that not a form of childhood sexual abuse? It is what it is-and many kids were talked into believing things happened in those specials that really did not in their own lives. I'm tired of adults feeling they have the right to tell kids not to do everything they do and 10 times worse.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking