Wendell & Vinnie TV Poster Image

Wendell & Vinnie



Lackluster sitcom has mixed messages about parenting.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Viewers see a nontraditional family work through issues like grief, social insecurity, and family squabbles. The characters' imperfections make them relatable, but problems wrap up in a 30-minute timeframe in a way that isn't realistic. Ultimately the show reminds viewers of the value of strong family ties and an openness to change. Expect some bathroom humor like body noises.

Positive role models

The show does an about-face on traditional role models, as young Wendell's maturity often supersedes that of his childish uncle and even, to some degree, his sharp-tongued aunt. That said, when push comes to shove, Vinnie makes Wendell his priority, even to the loss of his own goals.

Not applicable

Vinnie has an eye for the ladies and flirts shamelessly with those around him. Dialogue references "making out" and implies physical relationships among adults.


Rarely "hell." A recurring character's name ("Mr. Lipschitz") is the cause of many jokes.


Pop culture references to movies like Star Wars and celebrities in relation to Vinnie's memorabilia collection.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Wendell & Vinnie is an Odd Couple-style comedy series centered on a wise-beyond-his-years tween and his immature uncle-turned-guardian. The show relies heavily on the comic talents of star Jerry Trainor, who's pitch-perfect as the carefree Vinnie, but what kids will gather from the characters' role reversal is that adults' authority is always subject to question and critique. Heartfelt moments of family bonds are overshadowed by physical comedy, bathroom humor, and some exchanges with mature themes, especially surrounding the adults' romantic involvements.

What's the story?

WENDELL & VINNIE stars Jerry Trainor as Vinnie, a 30-year-old free spirit whose bachelor lifestyle ends abruptly when he takes guardianship of his straight-laced young nephew, Wendell (Buddy Handleson), after the death of Wendell's parents. For Vinnie, the transition to parenthood isn't an easy one, but fortunately Wendell has maturity enough to spare and helps his uncle find his way. Vinnie's acerbic sister, Wilma (Nicole Sullivan), is happy to put in her two cents' worth about how Wendell should be raised (which usually flies in the face of Vinnie's instincts), and his newly single neighbor, Taryn (Haley Strode), often finds herself in the midst of the chaos as well.

Is it any good?


Nickelodeon taps a familiar face in Trainor for the lead role in this sitcom, and those who knew him as iCarly's Spencer won't be surprised at how naturally he slips into the role of grown-up slacker Vinnie. He's hardly parenting material, but Wendell's serious enough for both of them, and the two opposing forces make for some laughable -- if predictable -- exchanges that always wind up having a lesson of some sort for each of them. With Vinnie's help, Wendell learns to relate a little better to his peers, and Vinnie eventually discovers that there's value in shouldering responsibility after all.

But short of poignant moments between this unlikely couple of characters, Trainor's comedic talents account for most of this show's appeal. The trite content has Wendell and Vinnie often vying for the spotlight, and the fact that Wendell's saddled with keeping Vinnie on the straight and narrow has questionable messages for kids about healthy family relationships. What's more, it glosses over instances of bullying, grief, and kids' social challenges in favor of comedy, missing the opportunity to explore them in a meaningful way for viewers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about this show's presentation of family structure. Who is in charge in this household? How does its structure compare to what you're used to? How do these discrepancies contribute to the show's humor?

  • Single-parent homes are common in TV shows today. What does this say about our culture as a whole? What other "nontraditional" traits are becoming more accepted in the media today?

  • Discuss in further detail some of the issues touched on by this show, including bullying and the struggle to fit in with peers. How do you handle loss? To whom do you turn for advice in difficult relationships?

TV details

Premiere date:February 16, 2013
Cast:Buddy Handleson, Jerry Trainor, Nicole Sullivan
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Wendell & Vinnie was written by

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Classic family sitcom offers fun with its lessons.
  • Brilliant, poignant comedy series has mature content.
  • Superpowers bring family closer; fun for teens and up.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byLtlandpa March 5, 2013

Sincere review on Wendell and Vinnie, personal opinion, 16-year old point of view

Myself, being at the age of 16, had only to see the one episode in which Vinnie, the uncle who attempts to be a role model, was holding a conversation with one of the female characters in the episode. She mentioned one of the other characters being like a 'Sl***y younger sister' and then mentioned something of her lingerie collection. Just from this, I can safely say that obviously, Nickelodeon is attempting to send a message about how moderation in ones' lifestyle is important. In some scenarios, it is safe to act somewhat immaturely and not suffer consequences or cause problems, but in other cases, it is inapropriate to act out in such ways. The message is a decent one, but it appears the the situations get a little out of hand in 'Wendell and Vinnie'. Now, this is just my thoughts, but it seems to me the media is turning towards a broadened teen audience for attention, but in the proccess is presenting negative concepts to young minds who don't know what to make of such things. When watching SpongeBob, instead of swear words, one would hear nothing but pure, goofy, or extremely mild language that replaces such vile use of words, and makes for an easy way to laugh at such things. With this T.V. show, I am APALLED. What with such refferences made to numerous uncomfortable subjects, I can truly say I am shocked at what T.V. producers consider good, acceptable (P.G. Rated) entertainment for kids, with the exception of the fact the T.V. program is run late at night. Given a decent portion of the audience may have lenient parents who let their kids stay up a bit late into the night, alot of children have access to such shows that run on later into these timeslots. Just as when I've watched such absolutely idiotic shows as 'Regular Show' and 'Adventure Time', many crude refferences and pieces of humor, inuendo and straight out disgusting content have been used as some sense of sick humor. I am unsure if the aim here is that the media wants to call to attention various and similar such issues as these, so that these issues can be addressed in real life and when encountered on television programs and (which they would then be doing a good job of), but while some refferences may be very obscure to children who have less exposure to such content, others may pick up on these presentations of bad habits and behaviors with much more haste. It is frightening to think that, with such ease, current and future generations of television watchers could be exposed to further and increasingly worse presentations of foul and vulgar content. What I suggest is that parents monitor their children as they watch certain T.V. programs and episodes of such programs that T.V. producers create as of now and into the future, because if said programs are anything like "Wendell and Vinnie", they may contain extremely distasteful content in which parents would want their children not to be exposed to. I prefer obscure humor where only adults pick up on refferences to such things and have a simple way to chuckle about the references, while keeping the children to their basic humour which is seemingly chock-full of laughs. Seemingly enough, as stated by others, Nickelodeon and other networks are trying to incorporate humour appealing to various age groups at the same time, and may very well be taking the wrong approach for doing so. I find it sad that when new T.V. programs are released to the public, none of them stick quite as well or seem as amusing/humorous as those like SpongeBob (etc. etc.) Now, as if to only make things worse, while being fresh out of ideas of pure comedy, producers now feel the urge to get more attention for their programs by including some rather disturbing content that MANY disagree with on their shows. As displayed even by 10 year olds, they feel that what is being presented to them is far too much worse than things should be, while others rebelliously state that what they view is acceptable and that shows such as Wendell and Vinnie should continue to be aired. I imagine it is the rebellion factor of things that is what truly draws kids to these T.V. shows. All-too-well knowing that the content on such T.V. shows can be sending negative messages, some children will still argue that they are old enough to grip the concepts of what is presented to them on the television, much like how a child would want to watch a mature movie that would give them bad ideas or cause them fears and phobias. While many decent morals and messages could-(and)-are being conveyed through T.V. shows such as "Wendell and Vinnie", I still personally feel strongly against such programs as these being aired and viewed by children round-the-globe. In the circumstance where I was an older sibling, I would definetly keep my younger siblings away from such shows as "Wendell and Vinnie" without parental supervision. Given the fact that it's rated P.G. (parental guidance suggested), I'm even STILL surprised that Nickelodeon wouldn't call it flat-out Teen-rated content. If I were a parent, I would definetly not want my kids watching this without me there to keep them from being too severely influenced, and would instead want rather to have them guided, whereas they might be influenced negatively if left to watch it alone. One thing to note is that children, often in public schools and other places, are susceptible to influence and pressure from other children who have dealt with and experienced such disturbing things that are presented by the media on T.V., or may pressure others to also partake in such viewings of negative television shows. Children being prone to this, parents should act on these situations as such and tell their children, hopefully, to be careful around others and in some way ignore what things might be said by their peers, shoulf it be something uncomfortable that your child would want to refer to you about for guidance, in the hopes that they would feel that way if such a scenario were to arise. This coming from a 16-year-old, I hope you parents out there take something away from this message, and hopefully consider the reinforcement of their childrens' safety in future T.V., internet, and other content viewings.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written byjgoldman77 February 19, 2013

Disappointing for parents of younger viewers.

I happen to love Jerry Trainor, and find him laugh-out-loud funny. I was really excited to see he had gotten a new show after iCarly. I was even more pleased that there was a show primarily featuring male characters, that my 7-year-old son could enjoy. However, after watching the first episode I quickly realized that this show is meant for tweens around ages 9 and up. In the first few minutes alone, there were two references to "making out." That was followed by refereces to divorce, the Kardashians, "boobs," online dating, racial stereotypes, multiple trips to the emergency room, a child's throat closing up after suffering a reaction from a peanut allergy, instances of bullying, and other uncomfortable situations. Not to mention the entire premise of the show is based on the accidental, sudden death of Wendell's parents, which makes the show difficult to talk about from the start. In the end, the message is a good one, but getting there is pretty uncomfortable... I wish the writers could create dialogue between a male and female character other than "making out"...
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old February 24, 2013

Oh, Gosh

I watched nick the other night and this show was on, I thought ok, it is nick, what could go wrong. Then it started talking about sex and the city, sex, boobs, divorce, vinnie making a martini, a lot of flirting, and kids using swears. I thought it was a moderately funny show, but my 10 year old sister was sitting next to me. So yeah, talk to your kids before you watch this show, and maybe watch it yourself to see if it is appropriate for your kids.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Family Media Agreement