Taxi TV Poster Image


Classic 1970s ensemble comedy is witty but gritty.
  • Network: ABC
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1978

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show celebrates the values of friendship, teamwork, empathy, resilience, and striving for your dreams, no matter how absurd the circumstances. That said, the cabbies and Louie exchange some trash talking, which is iffy for younger viewers.

Positive role models

The characters are a mix of stereotypes (e.g., an out-of-work actor, a struggling boxer, and an incomprehensible immigrant), but their witty banter and camaraderie give the series warmth and charm.


References to crime and occasional criminal acts are shown, but with humorous intent (for example, when Bobby is held up in his cab, he pulls his own gun and argues until the mugger gives up).


No graphic content, but the characters discuss their love lives with plenty of suggestion and innuendo. Louie makes especially frank comments. ("Hope you fill out this form better than you fill out those pants.") As you'd expect in a series about New York cabbies, there are references to prostitution, and some episodes include hookers as secondary characters.


The characters argue and insult one another in ways that are iffy for young viewers. Louie uses a particularly abusive "New York" tone and language ("I hope someone slams a door on your nose, and you sneeze, and your head explodes") -- and the cabbies give it right back to him ("he's really a nice guy -- he'd give you the scales off his back").

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters smoke and drink. A key character (Reverend Jim) is a burned-out former alcoholic and drug addict. There are occasional drug references, and in a few notable episodes, the characters inadvertently ingest drugs and behave strangely for comic effect.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Taxi is a 1970s sitcom set in the garage of a New York City taxi company that has a pretty gritty feel. Some of the subject matter can be inappropriate for younger viewers. There's trash talking, some sexual innuendo, and references to cigarette, alcohol, and drug use. The show's humor was cutting edge when it originally aired; some of that edge will seem dated to today's audiences. But the characters have warm relationships with each other, their dialogue is witty, and the show ultimately celebrates the value of friendship and loyalty.

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What's the story?

Set primarily in the garage of a New York City cab company, TAXI is filled with an oddball mix of characters. There's the obnoxious boss, Louie (Danny DeVito), and the wise veteran cab driver, Alex (Judd Hirsch). The other cabbies have dreams of making it in another profession: Bobby (Jeff Conaway) is an actor, Elaine (Marilu Henner) is a receptionist at a swanky art gallery, Tony (Tony Danza) is a struggling boxer, and John (Randall Carver) is a naive newcomer to the city. And then there are the series' two breakout characters: Latka Gravas, the Eastern European mechanic (played by the Andy Kaufman, who invented Latka's gibberish language) and Reverend Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd), an addled but surprisingly prescient burnout-turned-cabbie. Each of them goes through ups and downs as they chase their dreams, often leading to unexpected and funny predicaments. In the end, the characters lean on one another for help getting through life's challenges.

Is it any good?


This series pioneered the mixed-nuts ensemble comedy formula that was later refined in shows like Cheers and Wings. Although many of the series' cutting-edge gags will seem dated to today's kids, the characters' pursuit of their dreams and the strong emotional bonds they forge still ring true. It's not for young viewers, but for teens whose social skills are maturing, Taxi offers lessons in how personal differences can make friendships richer.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how their life is different from the time and place of Taxi.

  • How do you feel about the way the characters insult each other? What is each character's strength and weakness? What do they learn from each other? Are any of them intended to be role models?

  • What makes the characters who speak or behave differently (such as Latka and Reverend Jim) funny? Does that translate into real life?

  • How do the characters on Taxi demonstrate empathy and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Premiere date:September 12, 1978
Cast:Danny DeVito, Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner
Character strengths:Empathy, Teamwork
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Awards:Emmy, Golden Globe

This review of Taxi was written by

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