B Positive

TV review by
Marina Gordon, Common Sense Media
B Positive TV Poster Image
Some potty humor, drugs, drinking in wry organ donor sitcom.

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Kids say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes include positivity (hence the title), take help when it's offered, and offer help when it's needed.

Positive Role Models

Drew is a lonely newly single dad who will need help through the physical and emotional challenges of kidney transplant. After initially rejecting her offer, he comes to recognize that he should help his flawed donor Gina so that she can help him. Gina and her friend Gabby delight in drugs, drinking, and casual sex. Gina begins to question those choices when she can't remember her conversations or who's shared her bed. Drew's daughter Maddie treats him rudely without consequence.

Violence

Slapstick sitcom violence includes things like Drew jumping on the front of the senior living facility van that Gina drives and getting sprayed by the wipers and cleaner. While drunk and high, Gina falls out a first-floor window.

Sex

The sex references (all from Gina) are more innuendo than anything we see. She refers to hooking up with a groomsman by saying “He may not recognize me from the front.” Speaking of her kidney she says, as others overhear, "My organ will be in you... I will be in you." Later to Drew she says, "I’ve given my body to many men before, but never for keeps."

Language

Lots of references to pee (Drew's bad kidneys are uncredited co-stars here, after all), and one unnamed character says "d--k."

Consumerism

Mobile phones and laptops appear, but no particular brands. There's one reference to Uber, uttered by Bernie Kopell of Love Boat fame!

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Gina is a self-described party girl who we meet while she's smoking a joint and drinking wine, and she refers to having taken a Xanax earlier. To donate a kidney, she has to give up drugs and drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that B Positive, the latest show from sitcom king Chuck Lorre, is about a 30-something single father Drew (Thomas Middleditch) who needs a kidney and reluctantly accepts the offer of one from a hard-partying high school acquaintance, Gina (Annaleigh Ashford). The premise itself requires a certain amount of bodily humor -- lots of pee talk, in particular. B Positive's theme song, an old-timey ditty that proclaims "It’s your prerogative to be positive" plays over cartoony absurdist drawings of a centuries-old operating theater that graphically focuses on blood and innards. Gina appears obviously inebriated, and we see her smoke pot and drink wine, plus she refers to taking Xanax. At a doctor's office with her friend and fellow partier Gabby (Kether Donohue), she implies she could get a prescription for whatever drug they'd like. Drew's 12-year-old daughter, Maddie (Izzy G), speaks dismissively -- when at all -- to her father (he suggests it's because he and her mother recently split). In Gina's job as a van driver for a senior living center, the passengers function less as characters than as a source of laughs, and Gina refers numerous times -- again, for laughs -- to how many have died. 

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Teen, 15 years old Written byDogcat November 13, 2020

What's the story?

B POSITIVE is about a 30-something recently divorced father Drew (Thomas Middleditch), who learns in the pilot's opening scene that he needs a kidney. He happens to run into a hard-partying high school acquaintance, Gina (Annaleigh Ashford), at a wedding. Upon hearing his plight, Gina offers a kidney. She later reveals that years earlier she'd totaled her car and felt she was saved to do something more important with her life. Might this be it? Drew has no friends or family who would agree to donate a kidney, so he reluctantly accepts her offer. At her doctor's appointment, Gina discovers both that she's a match for Drew and that she has to stop drinking and taking drugs for three months before she can donate a kidney, restrictions she eventually agrees to. The show also features Drew's antisocial 12-year-old daughter, Maddie (Izzy G), his ex-wife Julia (Sarah Rue), and Gina's best friend/bawdy sidekick, Gabby (Kether Donohue). Gina's job as a van driver for seniors features a cast of older characters who serve as a peanut gallery and fan club.

Is it any good?

Can a sitcom based on the inherently unfunny topic of organ replacement actually be funny? With a cast of comedy veterans and a focus on kindness, signs point to a good match. Just when you think Chuck Lorre can't add any twists to his oeuvre -- which includes The Big Bang Theory, Mom, and Two and a Half Men -- he offers up a show based on a simple premise that doesn't sound comedic: single dad Drew (Thomas Middleditch, best known from HBO's Silicon Valley) needs a kidney. Loosely based on Mom writer Marco Pennette's own story, B Positive gets the pee-related kidney humor out of the way early (and often) so we can focus on Drew and his high school acquaintance Gina, the only donor who's both willing and debatably able to offer a kidney. Gina is played by Annaleigh Ashford, an acclaimed actor in stage musicals, as well as a Masters of Sex series regular. Her party-girl Gina is a combination of bravado and vulnerability, whose camp counselor tendencies are on full display when she leads her elderly charges in the assisted-living van in a chorus of "I like big butts and I cannot lie." Her outsized energy complements Drew's deadpan depressive demeanor.

In the pilot, we only briefly meet Drew's uncommunicative pre-teen daughter (Izzy G, who last co-starred with RuPaul in Netflix's AJ and the Queen), and it's clear their relationship will likely provide fodder for "growth" storylines. Gina's friendship with fellow partier Gabby is promising from the start -- in a bit of typecasting, Kether Donohue plays a version of her I'm-a-pain-but-so-fun Lindsay character in You're the Worst. Familiarity can breed comfort. Likewise, the familiar beats of a multi-cam sitcom are a welcome respite when every day can feel a bit too new and surprising.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the real-life experience of B Positive creator Marco Pennette, who received a donated kidney from a family acquaintance. How do you think Pennette's experiences inform the plot and enhance the characters?

  • How do the characters in B Positive demonstrate empathycommunication, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

  • What else have you seen Thomas Middleditch in? Talk about his ability to portray vastly different characters. How do you think his acclaimed work as an improv artist contributes to his acting abilities? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love edgy sitcoms

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