In fact, the show has been described as cartoonish and likened to Tom & Jerry. Dean P. of the Courier-Mail described the violence in the show as "hypocritical" and that "the morality of giving the impression that a hail of bullets does no-one any harm is ignored. After all, Tom and Jerry survived all sorts of mayhem for years with no ill-effects."
According to certain estimates, an episode of the A-Team held up to 46 violent acts. Stephen J. Cannell, co-creator of the show responds: "They were determined to make a point, and we were too big a target to resist. Cartoon violence is a scapegoat issue." Originally the A-Team's status as a hit show remained strong, but ultimately lost out to more family-oriented shows such as The Cosby Show, Who's the Boss? and Growing Pains.
According to an article in The New York Times, titled "TV View: It's Fun And It's Not Violent" there was a clear reason for this:
"But television, a notorious devourer of talent, is never that simple. There are other factors. One is that a substantial number of viewers, if the ratings in recent months are to be believed, are clearly fed up with mindless violence of the car-chasing, fist-slugging variety. Another, more subtle, is that younger audiences are tuning out of commercial television to watch MTV or their VCR's. Significantly, the only hit series routinely featuring violence in the past year or two has been Miami Vice, which, in addition to being a fashion show, looks like an extended music video.
"In any event, former celebrations of violence like The A-Team, in the Top 10 not too long ago, can now be found sinking to the bottom of the ratings lists. The younger audiences who made the show are, in their familiar fickleness, deserting it. Meanwhile, the networks are rediscovering that older audiences are still big consumers who remain attractive to advertisers."
—John J. O'Connor, The New York Times, February 16, 1986.
The violence presented in The A-Team is highly sanitized. People do not bleed or bruise when hit (though they might develop a limp or require a sling), nor do the members of the A-Team kill people. The results of violence were only ever presented when it was required for the script. In almost every car crash there is a short take showing the occupants of the vehicle climbing out of the mangled/burning wreck (even in helicopter crashes), although by late in the fourth season, some of these takes were dropped. According to Stephen J. Cannell this part of the show did become a running joke for the writing staff and they would at times test the limits of realism on purpose