A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show focuses more on the tumultuous friendship between two working-class men than on the men's relationships with their wives. But there are plenty of scenes that suggest married life is less than blissful. Ralph's catchphrase -- funny as it was in its era -- is a threat of domestic violence, which is no longer considered appropriate for humor.
Positive Role Models
The show is rooted in gender stereotypes of its day, with the men earning money outside the house and the women staying home to cook and clean. The women do appear to play some role in managing the finances, but they often have to ask their husbands for things they want. Men refer to their homes as "my house," etc.
Violence & Scariness
All violence is played for comedy, but Ralph sometimes pretends to hit or punch his wife in frustration, using his famous catchphrase, "... one of these days ... POW! Right in the kisser! One of these days, Alice, straight to the moon!" There's also some verbal sniping between husband and wife, and between husband and mother in law.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional drinking and smoking, typically played for comic effect. Slang terms like "getting loaded" (drunk).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this classic comedy about two working-class married couples is pretty tame compared to modern incarnations. That said, there's some not-so-subtle sexism that should warrant a little discussion, particularly when it comes to the way Ralph talks to his wife and threatens her with violence, however empty those threats may be. A few episodes involve smoking or drinking, but they're typically played for comedy.
Is It Any Good?
Even though The Honeymooners often ends up on critics' lists of the most beloved television comedies of all time, there's bound to be a disconnect for modern audiences, especially those who can't dismiss the series' stereotypical take on married life as a now-outdated product of its time. Because while Ralph's classic catchphrase might have brought in peals of laughter in its day, his frequent threats to send his wife "to the moon" actually play as borderline disturbing when paired with his closed fist coming swiftly toward her face.
The show is still notable, however, for two things: Carney's five-time Emmy Award-winning performance as Ralph's bumbling best friend, Ed, and the critical role The Honeymooners played in television history as one of the first series to offer an unfiltered look at working-class households of the 1950s (standing in stark contrast to the highly glossed families of Leave It to Beaver and other shows that would follow in its footsteps). It also served to inspire a slew of other sitcoms, some of which still echo its basic structure today.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.