TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Benders TV Poster Image
Crass humor, drinking, drugs, in raunchy hockey comedy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The benefits of loyal friendship are stressed; the friendships only seem to exist between men, though. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Our main character is positioned as a regular guy, with "likable" flaws such as jealousy, profanity, drinking.


Much of the action takes place on the ice, with men pushing each other, grappling, wrestling, pushing each other's faces up against the glass, and the like. 


Jokes about and references to sex. One show's plot revolves around a teammate's struggle not to have sex with a female teammate. Teammates go to a massage parlor and ask for sexual acts in crass terms. 


Frequent cursing: "I don't give a s--t," "You're s--tting me," "Keep moving, a--hole." References to oral sex as an insult ("blow me"), "sluts," venereal diseases, pornography, masturbation.


Many scenes take place in a hockey arena with ads on the wall. Sports logos appear frequently on clothing. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character smokes marijuana frequently (usually with a vaporizer). Teammates visit a bar frequently after practice and games, drink heavily, act drunk and aggressive or stupid. Plot points center on sobriety or drinking problems, played for laughs. Many scenes of players drinking shots or beer and women drinking wine. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Benders is a comedy about a group of teammates on a recreational hockey league. The show's humor is intentionally crass, with jokes targeting all manner of sensitive topics: sex, religion, race, bodily functions, drugs, and alcohol. For example, there are jokes about oral sex, frequent references to masturbation, and a woman showing her husband new breast implants in front of a group of men who applaud. Frequent cursing, particularly the word "s--t," as well as "ass" and "a--hole." Many scenes take place in a bar where teammates let off steam by drinking beer and shots. One character smokes pot frequently through a vaporizer, another source of jokes. Men push each other, wrestle, and hit each other during hockey games. 

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What's the story?

In Paul Rosenberg's (Andrew Schulz) life, two things reign supreme: playing in hockey league the Chubbys with his fellow BENDERS and going to the bar with his teammates afterward. Paul’s best friend Anthony (Chris Distefano) is the team's slightly arrogant best player and constant striver, moneyed übernerd Dickie (Mark Gessner) is just glad to be on the team, and stoner Sebalos (Ruy Iskandar) might just be in it for the snacks. At home, Paul's wife, Karen (Lindsey Broad), keeps Paul barely on the rails in between scrapes with his teammates. 

Is it any good?

Genial but clichéd, this comedy is easygoing and watchable enough and its actors likable, but it's straining to be better than it is. As is typical with this type of sitcom setup, hockey is the framing device to get a bunch of guys -- and the occasional nagging and/or attractive woman -- together to get up to hijinks. Think fantasy football with The League, the pub in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the firehouse in Rescue Me. It's not an accident we bring up Rescue Me, as its star and creator Denis Leary is Benders' producer, and it shows -- his type of brash, crass, occasionally funny humor is all over this show. It would be a lot funnier if the women in the show had more depth or if it didn't feel as if Paul's buddies were developed and cast to be types -- this guy's the one who always says something stupid, this one's the guy who always gets the gang into trouble. Add to that a boatload of comic tropes -- such as overenthusiastic Christians, hot female coworkers who unwittingly turn on their male colleagues with double entendres, what happens when one character tries to stop drinking -- you've seen before. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why comedies about sports are common. What comedic situations do they enable? What types of people do they hope to appeal to? 

  • Is the audience supposed to like the members of the Chubbys? How can you tell? 

  • How would this comedy change if it were set among tennis players? Basketball players? Swimmers? Would it be the same show? If not, how would it be different?

TV details

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