Why ‘The Americans’ is Definitely Not for Kids

If you have a child who is interested in the Cold War, espionage, and American life in the 1980s, The Americans may sound like a perfect show for them to watch. But parents should be cautious.

Season 2 premiered Feb. 26 for the period drama set in the 1980s during the Cold War.  The show has won several awards and has an incredible cast. It focuses on two KGB spies posing as an American family. FX airs many shows that push the limits of broadcast television, and this show is no exception.

Show Details:

Network: FX

Time: 10pm

Rating: Mature

Stars: Keri Russell, Mathew Rhys

Is The Americans educational?

The Americans is a period drama inspired by real life events. The show’s creator, Joe Weisberg, is actually a former CIA officer and uses his real life experiences as inspiration for the show. The show features technology that the FBI and KGB would use as well as some of the tactics, such as dead drops and various signals that spies or agents may use.

Is The Americans violent?

Yes. Because the protagonists are KGB agents, they have access to various forms of weaponry. The show also focuses on the lives of FBI agents who also use firearms. Through the first season there were several deaths, some more graphic than others. Multiple people are seen being shot in the head. On the first episode of the second season, a family is murdered and close-ups of each of the victims are shown, including a shot of a young girl.

Is there explicit material?

Yes, and these scenes show as much as TV will allow. The scenes are extremely explicit with full nudity and involve sexual manipulation and unfaithfulness.

Is there bad language or drug use?

Smoking, alcohol use, and marijuana use are featured. Any curse words allowed on TV are likely used in several episodes.

Your child should watch The Americans only if:

  • They are old enough to watch and understand very mature themes and explicit material. There are also complex story lines and character relationships that could be difficult to follow.
  • If those issues pass muster with parents, the show could be entertaining for older children who are interested in history due to real life events to authenticate the show. These events include everything from elections of presidents to assassination attempts. Cars, clothing and lifestyles of people during the time period are also of interest.
  • They like to discuss politics or social issues. The show will show both Soviet Union and American sides of the conflict. The protagonists of the series are historically enemies of the United States. Capitalism vs. Communism and who is right vs. who is wrong and why are covered.
  • They enjoy well-scripted, dramatic media. The show is well written. The sex and violence add to the tension between a man and wife as they pose as a typical American family.


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