Parents' Guide to

The Upshaws

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

'90s-style sitcom has swearing, drinking, sex humor.

TV Netflix Comedy 2021
The Upshaws Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 5+

This Show Teaches Children Disrespect & Poor Communication Skills

The Shaws's, language a) teaches children to be disrespectful to peers and elders, and b) diminishes children's communications skills. The idea that "respectful" sitcoms are “outdated,” as a CBS news' website reported, is ludicrous (not the rapper). As an ELA tutor of K through third graders, I cringe each time I hear a child use the n-word and other profanities. The n-word, historically spawned from a deep vein of poisonous hate, awash in an ocean of African American blood, forms a grating and scornful force field around its target. The intangible, stun-gun static, that broadcasts its target is inferior (maybe not even human), doesn’t dissipate when casually “re-imagined” by African American family, friends, comedians, rappers and Black sitcoms. “Reimagining” or “grammaticalization” of the word doesn’t bleach it of its core meaning; doesn’t cancel its menace. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. If the foul energy from the n-word were truly muted through so-called "ownership," Black people who cavalierly embrace and spew it, wouldn’t vehemently protest White people using it. My concern is, why would anyone want to “own” a word created to degrade them??? Other cultures understand this and refuse to bombard their children with racial slurs in their music or culture. For example, Puerto Ricans don’t write the slur “spic” into their music. Each time a Black person uses the n-word, he or she, subconsciously, reinforces the scornful insinuation of “inferiority,” having “no value,” of “nothingness,” of “less than.” Realizing this, the late, incomparable comedian, Richard Pryor publicly announced his decision to stop using that slur after returning from a visit to Kenya, Africa and being awestruck by the humanity. He came to understand that slurs, like the n-word, is designed to diminish, even destroy, a people's humanity and sense of self-worth.
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+


My original rating was “the best” but I wasn’t sure if I might be overhyping it. I will say this - I’m ADOS black, I’m in my 40s and my ADOS black wife (40s) and ADOS black daughter (17) LOVE THE UPSHAWS. I’m not sure about the demos for whomever else is watching the show, but the chemistry between Mike Epps, Kim Fields and Wanda Sykes is MAGNETIC; loving all 3 of them and Kim Fields impresses me with her acting, especially during her SERIOUS dramatic scenes. All 3 of them crack me up along with other characters in the storylines and all the characters are quality actors and genuine characters; the acting doesn’t feel forced or corny; quality acting. Each season finale has me WANTING TO SEE MORE. The Upshaws is a sitcom I LOVE and my family loves :-) We love this show smh.

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (2):

The irreverent comedy is a 1990s-style family sitcom, but edgier; the one-liners are sharp, there's lots of strong language, and the themes aren't always kid friendly. The Upshaws, which was co-created by Wanda Sykes (Black-ish), shows a family negotiating their economic struggles and parental stress. There are lots of goofy moments and insult-hurling that lead to some humorous exchanges, especially when Leticia is involved. In the center of it all are Bernie, whose love for his children doesn't prevent him from making some irresponsible choices, and Regina, who loves and puts up with his antics while trying to keep the family together.

Refreshingly, key conflicts, such as Bernie's relationship with Bernard, Jr., and Regina's efforts to tolerate Bernie's attempts to include Kelvin in their lives, are not meant to be resolved in 30 minutes. Instead, these narratives are presented as more honest, relatable family experiences. Ultimately,The Upshaws is a humorous and contemporary portrayal of an imperfect but loving family.

TV Details

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate