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The Dukes of Hazzard
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that it's no accident that this longtime favorite has hung around long enough to entertain a whole new generation of fans. The show's lovably indomitable heroes prove time and again that, in Hazzard County, corrupt businessmen and inept cops are no match for them and their orange cohort, the General Lee. While the humor is silly (and sometimes is at the expense of exaggerated Southern stereotypes) and the plots are predictable (with all loose ends neatly tied up by the hour's end), ubiquitous car chase scenes help ensure that the show never gets boring. The only real eyebrow-raisers are some characters' use of guns -- although the shots are laughingly poor and never manage to hit anyone -- and Daisy Duke's skimpy attire, including the famous high-cut shorts that were named after her character. It's all pretty tame, though, which is why we're giving it an "on" rating.
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What's the story?
THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, which originally ran on CBS from 1979 to 1985, follows the adventures of two \"good ol' boy\" cousins who live on their uncle's dilapidated farm in the outskirts of fictional Hazzard County, Georgia. On probation for running moonshine for Uncle Jesse (Denver Pyle), Bo (John Schneider) and Luke (Tom Wopat) are legally obliged to stay within the county lines. They spend their free time (which apparently is all of it, since neither one has a job) careening through dusty back roads in their orange, Confederate flag-clad '69 Charger, the General Lee. Though they've put their law-breaking days behind them, the Duke boys are often forced to avoid getting arrested on trumped-up charges by the county's bumbling sheriff, Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best), whose many failures at incarcerating the Dukes haven't dampened his hopes of putting them behind bars. The Dukes also have to deal with the antagonism of county commissioner/corrupt businessman Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke), who owns or runs pretty much all of Hazzard. Cousin Daisy (Catherine Bach), who also lives with them, and local mechanic Cooter (Ben Jones) often pitch in to help Uncle Jesse rescue Bo and Luke from the inept lawmen.
Is it any good?
The Dukes of Hazzard is a down-home classic, having maintained a fervent fan base for more than 25 years (it even inspired a big-screen version in 2005). Its combination of silly comedy, lovable characters, and memorable car chases and jumps is just plain fun entertainment that spans the generational gap -- though parents may want to check it out before showing it to really young kids. Some characters carry and shoot guns, Daisy wears fairly provocative attire (including those famous high-cut jean shorts that were later dubbed "Daisy Dukes"), and some of the humor is based on some pretty broad stereotypes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about respecting law enforcement officials. Why do police officials deserve our respect? Why don't the characters in the show respect Rosco, even though he's the sheriff? What rights do citizens have in the presence of police officers? Parents can also discuss how the media portrays negative stereotypes. Kids, what examples of stereotyping have you noticed in movies or TV shows? What about in the news? How are the characters in this show exaggerated for laughs?
Themes & Topics
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