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Parents' Guide to

You Can't Do That on Television

By Stephanie Morgan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Dated, problematic sketch comedy relies on stereotypes.

TV Paramount+ Comedy 1982
You Can't Do That on Television: poster

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Some TV shows from our youth are just better left in the past, regardless of the nostalgia they may hold. Sadly, You Can't Do That on Television, with its woefully problematic jokes, falls squarely into that camp. Nothing could convey that message more succinctly than one of the characters appearing in brown face within the first few minutes of the pilot episode. From there things only continue to spiral. Much of the humor centers on mean-spirited putdowns, coming from kids and adults alike. There's also a heavy reliance on stereotypes and straight, cis-gender norms, with an entire episode in the first season centered around how much girls like to wear makeup and boys don't like to be called pretty. The cherry on the cake comes as a boy grabs a girl he doesn't have a relationship with and kisses her before walking off without ever speaking, let alone gaining consent. (The girl is shown smiling and batting her eyes lovingly afterward.)

It isn't just that the show, which premiered in 1982, doesn't hold up. It also truly isn't funny -- partly because of its dated humor and partly because it relies on the same bits over and over. So while you might be tempted to show your kids the origin of Nickelodeon's infamous slime antics, you'll be better served repressing the urge and digging up your favorite old movie to share instead.

TV Details

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