Sketch TV by young amateur actors in true classic Nick-style. But whatever you do, never admit that you don't know or ask for water.
Reviews
Popularity
2,421 ( 358)

Watch Now

on Amazon Video

Episodes

Seasons


Years



10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
1990   1989   1987   1986   … See all »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Mr. Wizard's World (1983–1991)
Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

With the help of his young assistants, Mr. Wizard starts each episode with a demonstration that at first glance should be impossible, but is actually based firmly on basic scientific ... See full summary »

Stars: Don Herbert, Michael Dicay, Christian Malcolm
Double Dare (1986–1988)
Comedy | Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

One in a long-running series of game shows, where two-member teams of children compete to answer questions and complete stunts.

Stars: Lou Ferrigno, Jennifer Malone, 'Weird Al' Yankovic
Hey Dude (1989–1991)
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A group of friends work together with their boss at a dude ranch and go through many fun moments and mishaps along the way.

Stars: David Brisbin, Debrah Kalman, Christine Taylor
Today's Special (1981–1987)
Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The night staff of a major department store explore topics for young viewers.

Stars: Jeff Hyslop, Nerene Virgin, Bob Dermer
Eureeka's Castle (1989–1995)
Musical | Family | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In a wind-up toy castle, a fantasy world of talking animals and assorted creatures live together with a giant who's in charge.

Stars: Pam Arciero, Cheryl Blaylock, Johnny Grasso
3-2-1 Contact (1980–1992)
Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A children's show explaining various principles of science and their applications.

Stars: David Quinn, Debra Shapiro, Todd A. Rolle
Muppet Babies (1984–1991)
Animation | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The Muppets, as babies, have adventures with their imaginations inside their nursery.

Stars: Greg Berg, Katie Leigh, Laurie O'Brien
Family | Game-Show | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Contestants pursue the international thief as junior detectives who must answer questions about geography.

Stars: Greg Lee, Lynne Thigpen, Rockapella
Reading Rainbow (TV Series 1983)
Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Levar Burton introduces young viewers to illustrated readings of children's literature and explores their related subjects.

Stars: LeVar Burton, Jennifer Betit Yen, Arnold Stang
Lamb Chop's Play-Along (1992–1997)
Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An enthusiastic singing lady and her puppet animal friends go on a variety of adventures.

Stars: Amy Castle, Brian Ito, Shari Lewis
Wild & Crazy Kids (1990–2002)
Action | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Sixty-five episodes of this syndicated show were produced in 1990 and 1992. The shows featured children in physical competition using unusual equipment, e.g., go-carts, tennis guns, et ... See full summary »

Stars: Donnie Jeffcoat, Omar Gooding, Jessica Gaynes
Family Double Dare (1988–1993)
Family | Game-Show
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Just like "Double Dare" (1986) but family members are invited to play too.

Stars: Rain Pryor, Wil Wheaton, 'Weird Al' Yankovic
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Ross Ewich / ... (143 episodes, 1979-1990)
Abby Hagyard ...
 Valerie Prevort / ... (114 episodes, 1982-1990)
...
 Christine / ... (86 episodes, 1979-1986)
...
 Lisa Ruddy / ... (66 episodes, 1979-1985)
Alasdair Gillis ...
 Alasdair Gillis / ... (63 episodes, 1982-1987)
Edit

Storyline

Sketch TV by young amateur actors in true classic Nick-style. But whatever you do, never admit that you don't know or ask for water.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Family | Comedy

Certificate:

TV-Y

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 February 1979 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

You Can't Do That on TV  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(144 episodes)

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

As it so happened, the series title was previously heard on television in a third season episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961). In 'The Return of Edwin Carp', which aired April 1, 1964, Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) says "You can't do that on television" after Robert Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) asks "What's the one thing that's never been done on television?" See more »

Quotes

Christine: So tell me Lisa, did you enjoy your trip to the Grand Canyon?
Lisa: Oh I sure did, and Moose the whole time I was there, I couldn't help thinking of you.
Christine: Oh, really? Well that's nice. What made you think of me?
Lisa: Well, you and the Grand Canyon are so very much alike. Shallow and dirty, and most of all, very very wide at the bottom.
[Stomps her feet and giggles]
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Family Guy: Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Jr. High (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

You Can't Do That on Television Theme
Performed by The National Press Club and Allied Workers Jazz Band (as The National Press Club and the Allied Workers Jazz Band Ink.)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Before Kids TV became P.C.
9 May 2005 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

You take a look at kids' television today, and it's amazing that this show saw the light of day. Consider the following aspects of "You Can't Do That On Television"....

  • Kids are chained up and put in front of a firing squad in a third


world country. They usually trick their captor into getting shot himself, but occasionally the kids themselves end up being fired upon. Today, the show would be criticized for depicting violence against children, as well as perpetuating negative stereotypes against foreigners.

  • "Ross", the supposed director of the show, tortures the kids and


treats them as slave labor. Today, the show would be attacked for glorifying exploitation of children.

  • Blip, the owner of the local arcade, finds whatever ways he can to


cheat the video-game obsessed youth that frequent his business. Today, the show would be protested for making light of adults cheating children out of money.

  • The "family" scenes depict parents as lazy, poor role models, or just


plain cruel. Today, the show would be boycotted for making a joke of dysfunctional families.

  • The two most frequently featured female characters (Moose and Lisa)


are constantly taunted about their weight. This is despite the fact that, while not thin, neither girl is really all that fat. Today, parents would fear the show could cause eating disorders.

  • Even the theme show of the song depicts children being ground up into


hamburger meat (or is it hot dog meat -- I forget). I won't even touch this one! While outrageous shows depicting children exist today (i.e. "South Park"), these are aimed at ADULTS, and are given TV-MA ratings. You Can't Do That On Television was aimed at (and watched almost exclusively by) kids. That's the amazing part. You'll never see another kids show like it again.

This wasn't a show with educational or cultural value. It had value in other ways, though, which are harder to quantify.

It was funny and entertaining. It was outrageous enough to be interesting, but never so over-the-top to where it could be considered a true danger to anyone. I don't know anyone who had nightmares about being in front of a South American firing squad. Somehow we all got the sick humor in that, and didn't really see it as real violence.

The kids seemed real. They weren't beautiful, didn't seem precocious, and in fact all used their real names on the show. Alasdair, Kevin, Lisa, Moose, and the bunch seemed like the rest of us. This made the characters easy to like and relate to.

The show tapped into the minds of kids in the '80s. We were all obsessed with arcades, yet all knew the pain of losing quarters in malfunctioning games with "no refunds". We all dealt with controlling and irrational teachers, difficult parents, and incompetent/obnoxious bus drivers.

The show wasn't brilliantly written or produced, but it was fun, and it grew on you over time. Too often growing up I found that kids' shows were talking down to me, and I didn't like it. This was one show that wasn't guilty of that, and set out to entertain me, rather than preach to me or teach me a lesson. I didn't realize it back then, but that was perhaps the aspect of it that I appreciated the most.

Sadly, children's fare of today is over-scrutinized, and any program that can be deemed a bad influence is deepsixed. Just the weight jokes alone would put this show in the 2005 trash can. The fact that we have gotten to this point is indeed a tragedy.

Les Lye did a fine job with all of the different characters he played. I remember being amazed as a kid when I realized that he played every single adult character on the show. He's 80 years old now -- can you believe it?


28 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Classics are Back! cyber_pulse
Can you remember any SPECIFIC funny scenes?? Noformica
Gay overtones?!? murrdog1
What was the funniest thing you remember on this show? milam98
why did this show suck so bad? bojanmiller31
I love the opening theme song and animated montage fabo234
Discuss You Can't Do That on Television (1979) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?