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 this sketch comedy series features both shorts produced expressly for the show and those made by users (who submit them via the show's Web site). The material is unevenly funny and often contains adolescent sexual and/or potty humor, as well as jokes based on hot-button issues like race. Some of the sexual elements edge across the line into adults-only territory, though they vary from episode to episode and skit to skit. For example, one short about a woman who was sexually harassed by her male coworkers until she exploded in anger included extreme sexual language and descriptions, most of which was bleeped but obvious. Another skit involves an animated character who breaks into kids' homes and scares them -- until he's shot by an angry father and lies in a pool of his blood on the verge of death. You get the idea.
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What's the story?
ACCEPTABLE.TV, a Jack Black-produced sketch comedy show, combines professionally produced skits with user-generated content. Each 30-minute episode features about six three-minute shorts, one of which is chosen from material users have uploaded to the Acceptable.TV Web site. To further integrate users/viewers into the experience, people can cast votes on the site for the sketches they want to see again on the show -- acting as a sort of collective network executive with the power to continue or cancel a show. The shorts created in-house are along the lines of what you might expect from Black. For example, the "Who Farted?" skit, which mocks game shows like Identity, contestants must choose a person from the gallery who they think didn't fart, like a nurse ("Nurses don't fart!") or a man in a wheelchair.
Is it any good?
Skits sometimes contain adult humor with sexual elements, like a mock History Detectives show that hunts down the story behind a Polish joke that involves having sex with a promiscuous farmer's daughter and eating pee-soaked popcorn. While there's no nudity -- or even any visible sexual activity -- the storyline is pretty racy and probably not appropriate for younger viewers. Teens might find Acceptable.TV good for laughs and might even enjoy the participatory element, but parents might want to preview the show to get a sense of the content before giving the all clear.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this show mixes traditional media -- television -- with new media -- the Internet. How does the Web fit into your family's entertainment life? Do you get most of your entertainment on the Web, on television, or somewhere else? Do you think that balance will change in the next few years? Families can also discuss creating their own sketch. What would you want to do? What would be funny to everyone in your family? Would you need costumes? Who would write the script?
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