The Bernie Mac Show



Cosby: The next generation?
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show handles the day-to-day experiences of family life with humor.

Positive role models

The kids can be mischievous, but overall they're good role models who think for themselves. Bernie Mac handles family life with humor. The family is a positive representation of African American family life.

Not applicable

Sex-related issues arise as the kids mature. Episodes have involved teen Vanessa dressing provocatively (in Bernie's eyes) and wanting to date. Once 8-year-old Bryana accidentally saw Bernie naked.


Occasional mild profanity.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mac plays a gruff but loving father figure who, despite some claims to the contrary, is happy to share his home and his life with his sister's children. This series is funny and creative, and parents who enjoy Mac's brand of humor are likely to enjoy it as much as their children do. Episodes deal with more mature themes as the children age, but there's not a lot to worry about here.

What's the story?

Bernie Mac, who died in 2008, was on his way to becoming a memorable TV dad, combining traits of both Archie Bunker and Bill Cosby. A stand-up comedian both on the show and in real life, he played a lovable grouch who's just trying to maintain some control over his environment. Bernie McCullough (Mac) and his wife Wanda (Kellita Smith), a business executive, didn't plan on being parents, but took in Bernie's sister's kids. Bernie and Wanda create a loving family environment, but the kids constantly pose new challenges and parenting is the fodder of most episodes. Oldest daughter Vanessa (Camille Winbush) scares Uncle Bernie to death with her teenage interests, pre-pubescent Jordan (Jeremy Suarez) confuses his uncle with his offbeat intelligence, and precocious Bryana (Dee Dee Davis) wants her own room.

Is it any good?


Viewers and critics alike responded well to this series: It won the Peabody Award, an Emmy for outstanding writing, and an NAACP Image Award, among numerous other honors. If you don't like Bernie Mac's comic style, you probably won't like this show. But many parents, teens, and older tweens will appreciate that this family of smart individuals teaches Mac as much as he tries to teach them.

Bernie Mac is similar to Everybody Loves Raymond in that the dad's foibles and complaints are a main focus of the show, but it breaks away from the pack because the children emerge as full-fledged characters.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Mac's brusque approach to fatherhood. Are his reactions to the kids' behavior realistic? Does he ever over-react? The show also offers an opportunity to discuss non-traditional families. Do your kids know anyone in a similar situation to the show's McCullough family? How would they feel in Bernie's kids' place?

TV details

Cast:Bernie Mac, Camille Winbush, Kellita Smith
Character strengths:Communication
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Bernie Mac Show was written by

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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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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byTheTrillonaire August 9, 2014

The Best, Really Funny!

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byTheMatureTeen July 24, 2015

Very Heartwarming and Funny!

Although the show is very funny and heartwarming it should not be viewed by children under 11. If you under 11 (watch with adult!). The show just has mild violence between the family like slapping, punching, and beatings every now and then. The show has a lot of sexual references because Jordan(Jeremy Suarez) is entering the realm of puberty so he thinks about chest a lot or in his case boobies. Bernie Mac and Wanda(Kellita Smith) have sex in some episodes none shown but is obvious. There are a few name brands that can be seen but most of them aren't. There is some Drugs,Drinking,and Smoking. Bernie Mac is shown smoking a cigar a few times. Bernie Mac refers to his sister that is on drugs a lot. Wanda and Bernie Mac drink wine when they got to the bedroom. Bernie Mac drinks beer in a few episodes. There are a few words that nobody wants to hear but nothing major he says words like: damn, ass, crap, boobies, oh lord and oh my god (as an exclamation)
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byJennypenny123 April 1, 2013

Bernie Mac Show

The Bernie Mac show was probably the most hilarious tv show that I have ever seen. He was a very funny man and always had something funny to say.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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