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 this sitcom about two very different (but still close) single adult brothers tends to revolve around topics like dating -- which often leads to sexual references. Although the show puts a strong emphasis on family relationships, it also has its fair share of gender, racial, and ethnic stereotypes. While some of these stereotypes are obvious, others may go over the head of younger viewers -- as will many of the innuendos.
What's the story?
One of the first shows to air on the former WB network, THE WAYANS BROS. is a sitcom that follows the everyday escapades of Shawn and Marlon Williams (played by real-life siblings Shawn and Marlon Wayans), adult brothers who live and work in New York City. The Williams brothers have a close relationship despite their remarkably different personalities -- older brother Shawn is mature and hardworking, while more adolescent Marlon manages to create chaos wherever he goes. Both frequently find themselves having to get out of mishaps, often with the help of their father, diner owner John "Pops" Williams (John Witherspoon). The men manage to support each other through thick and thin over the years, often with the help of the women in their lives, including Pops' girlfriend Dee Baxter (Anna Maria Horsford) and Shawn and Marlon's various girlfriends. They also have the help of friends T.C. (Phill Lewis), Dupree (Jermaine "Huggy" Hopkins), and White Mike (Mitch Mullany).
Is it any good?
While The Wayans Bros. promotes a strong family bond between a father and his sons, the show's slapstick and physical humor also rely on the Wayans family's traditional form of comedy -- which leans toward the use of strong racial, ethnic, and gender stereotyping.
Yes, there are some funny moments, but overall the show offers an unfortunately limited number of truly positive representations of women, African-Americans, and other racial/ethnic communities. As a result, it's sometimes hard to appreciate the show's humor -- not to mention its positive messages about family.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sibling relationships. Why is it important for brothers and sisters to get over their differences and show respect and love for each other?
Is it OK to use stereotypes as a source of humor? What are some of the consequences of using stereotypes to make people laugh? When does making fun of people go to far?
Do you find the show's style of humor offensive or funny? Where do you draw the line between the two?