History of the World Part II
History of the World Part II
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that History of the World Part II is a sequel to Mel Brooks's raunchy '80s comedy, History of the World, Part 1. The TV series has a star-studded cast including a cameo from Brooks himself and recurring characters played by Wanda Sykes and Nick Kroll (both of whom are also producers). Parents who remember the original History of the World Part I can expect much of the same type of comedy. Jokes include mature sexual innuendo, like a whole bit based on the Kama Sutra. Some sketches show strong violence, and gushing blood geysers serve as comic relief. Many of the jokes are based on terrible events in history like genocide and wars (and this series goes there -- including Hitler jokes). Drinking to excess and smoking marijuana are both depicted as being funny. There's strong language including F-bombs throughout. Parents may be concerned about how Mel Brooks's style of comedy has aged 40 years later, but the jokes have modern sensibilities that have adjusted with the times.
A great show.
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What's the Story?
42 years later, Mel Brooks makes good on his promise of there being a History of the World Part II, "coming soon." This time around, the sequel is a TV series instead of a feature-length movie. Every episode features sketches very loosely based on famous events in history like the Russian Revolution, the Civil War, and the creation of Shakespeare's masterpieces. While the historical premises of the sketches are real, they quickly take a ludicrous turn. Princess Anastasia is reimagined as an influencer livestreaming while her family is executed, cavewomen harness the power of fire so that they can light a marijuana joint, and Hitler himself finally gets the figure skating career promised in Part I. Though the comedy is based on events in the past, Brooks and his writing collaborators present sharp commentary on modern issues like racism, sexism, and religious prejudice.
Is It Any Good?
Teens who have enjoyed Mel Brooks classics like Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein will love this superb (if extremely inappropriate) sequel. History's incongruous set-ups, silly word play, random references and excellent comedic performances by the celebrity cameo performers add up to a laugh-out-loud good time. The writing team does a great job matching the spirit of Brooks's jokes while updating the humor so it will still feel relevant to teens. Much of the historical content getting lampooned will be events teens are learning about in high school history class. That said, all that mature content means that it may get uncomfortable if parents and teens watch the series together, and some parents may prefer their teens skip this one entirely.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Mel Brooks's use of race/gender/religious stereotypes in his comedy, including the jokes in History of the World Part II. How does he use stereotypes to comment negatively on stereotypes? Even though he's trying to use stereotypes to make a point, does including them continue to perpetuate them? Or not?
While the sketches are ridiculous, some of them make a serious point about society in the contemporary United States. Can you think of an example of one of these sketches? What was it trying to comment on, and do you think it was successful?
- Premiere date: March 6, 2023
- Cast: Mel Brooks, Wanda Sykes, Nick Kroll
- Network: Hulu
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: History
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: March 6, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Kids may not get all of Brooks' classic Old West parody.
Brooks' corniness still yields plenty of belly laughs.
History of the World, Part 1
Dirty jokes, some sparkle in uneven Mel Brooks classic.
Hilarious true history lessons make drunkenness seem funny.
For kids who love comedy TV
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