The Duchess

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Duchess TV Poster Image
Bawdy adult-themed comedy has innuendo, drinking, cursing.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Single motherhood and navigating relationships are major themes. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Katherine is strong, free-spirited, bawdy, runs a small business, and is a dedicated mother. Characters support one another and are forgiving and gracious.

Violence

Things are occasionally hit or thrown, but these acts are infrequent. 

Sex

It contains strong sexual innuendo, and references to "doing her" and "banging." Nudity is briefly visible in photographs. Katherine makes tasteful pottery featuring nude women. Sperm donation and getting pregnant is a theme. 

Language

Words like "p---y" "bitch," and "f--k" are frequently used, and cast members use rude gestures. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking over meals is visible. Drug addiction ruined a character's career.  

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Duchess is a TV series about an outrageous Canadian single mom raising her tween daughter in the United Kingdom. There’s lots of strong sexual innuendo, crude references to sex like "banging," and occasional brief nudity. Strong language includes "p---y," "bitch," and "f--k" and cast members use rude gestures. Sperm donation and getting pregnant are central themes. Sometimes things are hit or thrown. Characters drink alcohol, and drug addiction is referenced in some episodes.

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What's the story?

Written by Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan, THE DUCHESS is a British series featuring a single Canadian mother raising a daughter in England. Katherine (played by Ryan) is a small business owner, an artist, and an outspoken and bawdy single mom to nine-year-old Olive (Katy Byrne). When Olive is with her dad Shep (played by Rory Keenan), an obnoxious former boy band member, Katherine spends time with her boyfriend Evan (Steen Raskopoulos), a sweet dentist who wants to be more central in their lives. Fearful of repeating her past relationship mistakes, Katherine isn’t enthusiastic about taking their relationship to the next level. Complicating matters is the fact that she, with Olive’s blessing, wants to have a baby with the help of a sperm donor. Throughout it all, assistant and good friend Sandra (Maya Jama) tries her best to support Katherine, despite the outlandish things she does. 

Is it any good?

This outrageous series offers lots of adult humor that reflects Katherine Ryan’s standup comedy style. The fictional Katherine is unapologetically rude and improper, especially to people she doesn't like. Her obvious love for her daughter, as well as her fears of being trapped in another unhappy relationship, reveals a few vulnerabilities. But she ultimately stands on her own, and is able to handle things that come her way, even if she does so indecorously. 

There are some funny moments, most of which are driven by Katherine’s narcissistic, free-spirited, and off-color approach to the world. However, after a while, some of the antics become more silly and annoying than humorous. It’s not a show for everyone. But for fans of Katherine Ryan’s work, or this type of comedy, The Duchess will fetch some laughs and is worth tuning into. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes good comedy. The Duchess features lots of adult-oriented banter that contains bad language and crude references. Does this impact the show's comedic value?

  • What are some of Katherine's best character strengths? Does she handle conflict well? Why does she behave the way she does?

TV details

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For kids who love comedies

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