The Moodys

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Moodys TV Poster Image
Holiday family comedy is warm and winning, but nothing new.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Sweet (if sometimes frustrating) family love is the main driver of this drama, with messages of compassion and empathy shining through the antics. 

Positive Role Models

Characters are somewhat stereotyped (the boring uncle, the stunted man-boy) but they're also loving, have authentic-feeling relationships that are ultimately supportive and close. Cast is diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, and age, and jokes sometimes zero in on racial differences: a White woman married to an Asian man is asked if someone she cheated with is also Asian; a South Asian woman is called a "little kundalini." There are some fat-shaming messages: An upset woman who wants pancakes is told to be careful because after her last breakup she had "to get all new jeans." 


Violence is infrequent and played for laughs: Two men steal a Zamboni machine, drive it down a city street (no one is hurt); an angry character runs around her house shooting ornaments with a BB gun. One character tells another if he keeps flirting with a woman, her boyfriend might "kick his ass." 


Romance and romantic foibles prominent. Expect flirting, dating, kissing, talk about sex: a man's illicit desire for his cousin's girlfriend, a woman kisses a man who's not her husband, a wife talks about her husband's difficult time when asked to "maintain an erection." 


Language is infrequent: "hell," "damn," "ass," "crap." A man jokingly tells someone they "suck." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink at gatherings and talk about being drunk or overindulging, but no one actually acts drunk. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Moodys is a miniseries about a family that gets together for the holidays despite the problems each family member is experiencing. The action is suitable for mature tweens and up, and OK for parents to watch with kids. Sexual content is muted and mostly focuses on romance: finding someone to love and keeping them, brief kisses and references to infidelity. Violence is infrequent, too; in one scene a mom runs around shooting Christmas decorations with a BB gun, but no one gets hurt. Characters drink prominently, making cocktails, clinking beers, but no one acts drunk; one character runs in sobriety circles and there's talk of AA and the difficulty of maintaining sobriety. Language is infrequent but expect "hell," "damn," "ass," and "crap." Family members have strained but ultimately supportive relationships; they mock each other but show empathy and compassion when the chips are down. The central family in this show is White, but friends and romantic partners are diverse racially and ethnically, and there are mild jokes about differences, like when a South Asian woman is called a "little kundalini" (affectionately). This sweet comedy is a good choice for whole-family viewing, especially during the holiday season. 

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What's the story?

This year, THE MOODYS each have particular reasons to want a perfect Christmas. Husband and wife Sean (Denis Leary) and Ann (Elizabeth Perkins) are concerned that this might just be the last holiday the whole family will be able to get together, while eldest son Sean Jr. (Jay Baruchel) is determined to crystallize his entrepreneurial ambitions and finally move out of his parents' house. Meanwhile, younger brother and sister Dan (François Arnaud) and Bridget (Chelsea Frei) are both experiencing relationship troubles they'd just as soon not bring up. When expectations meet reality, comedy ensues, but something tells us it'll be all smiles and hugs around the Christmas tree at the end. 

Is it any good?

The "dysfunctional family holiday" setup is so old it's practically got cobwebs, but this particular iteration is charming enough to inject a little juice into the scenario. The cast is charming, particularly a game veneer-of-calm-over-panic Perkins, certainly an old pro at finding the sweetness and sentiment in sitcom hijinks, and Baruchel as the continually disappointing eldest son, still living at home and working at his high school job as a Zamboni driver. Leary, thankfully, has a more down-to-earth role than his usual tough-talking city-guy schtick, and the rest of the ensemble cast blends well; group scenes at the dinner table or around the Christmas tree have a lived-in, authentic feel. 

An episodic Christmas special is an inspired idea: Most people have watched all the holiday episodes of The Office and Seinfeld a few too many times and are ready for new holiday-compliant entertainment to watch with the whole fam on vacation. Lucky for them, The Moodys is rotten with Christmas signifiers: your snowflake sweaters, side dish-laden dinner tables, and boring uncles droning on. But unlike real life, this heightened version is actually pretty funny and enjoyable, with enough warm family emotion and gags to carry the day. You could do worse for group-vacation entertainment. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families with strained relationships getting together to celebrate holidays is a time-honored subject for comedies. Which can you name? How is The Moodys alike or different from these other movies or TV shows? What type of audience is this show supposed to appeal to? Why is this a classic setup? Are most people supposed to relate to this setup? 

  • Comedies set within a family usually revolve around "dysfunctional" families. Why? Where's the humor or relatability in this concept? Why might a family that functioned well be a less interesting source of humor? 

  • How do characters demonstrate compassion and empathy in The Moodys? Why are these important character strengths

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holiday TV

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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