Betas

 
Silicon Valley start-up comedy is packed with iffy content.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Both celebrates and skewers start-up culture, with its passionate work force and blatant sexism.

Positive role models

The coworkers on Betas can be passionate about their work, but it's mostly as a means toward money and power. The cast boasts racial and ethnic diversity, but female cast members are in short supply and are often objectified when they are on-screen.

Violence

There is threatened violence, such as when a young woman threatens to slap a man for hitting on her.

Sex

One character in particular is a fountain of sexual jokes and words. We see him calling up a half-naked cam girl on his computer and discussing sex ad nauseum with his coworkers, referring to masturbation, group sex, and other sexual situations. Female characters are often objectified, with the camera panning up their bodies and their looks and sexual availability avidly discussed.

Language

Frequent cursing, including all major curse words, generally used in playful rank-outs or in jokes. There also are many sexual phrases and discussions of genitalia.

Consumerism

Real companies (Facebook, Pinterest) are discussed, as are ones made up for dramatic purposes.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many scenes take place in bars; characters act drunk. One character takes another's prescription Adderall; another asks a coworker to hook her up with ecstasy for Burning Man.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Betas is a clever sitcom set in a Silicon Valley start-up largely inhabited by young, single men, and that it has a frat-house vibe, with coworkers feeling free to refer to sex and drugs, often graphically. Most of the men on Betas are on the make; women are mostly secondary characters and love interests. The camera often leers at the women on the show, too, panning up their bodies. Some of the characters on Betas care deeply about their work, but it's mostly as a means for "success" as defined by money and power. Viewers also will hear a lot of rough language, with many four-letter words and sexual jokes and innuendo. Many scenes take place in bars, with characters drinking and acting drunk and silly. Characters take prescription drugs not prescribed to them on-screen, and they refer to other pharmaceuticals casually, at work.

Kids say

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What's the story?

BETAS' Trey (Joe Dinicol) and Nash (Karan Soni) don't know what they're doing wrong, exactly. They have an innovative idea for a social-media-informed online-dating service, but, so far, they're still watching jealously as all around them Silicon Valley Internet companies strike it rich while their team still struggles. Powerful tech investor Murchison (Ed Begley Jr.) has infused their company with enough cash to get their product going, but it's up to Trey and Nash to steer their new enterprise to success and avoid the bad graces of Murchison's right-hand woman, Lisa (Margo Harshman). Meanwhile, at work, resident old-man-at-35 Hobbes (Jon Daly) is thisclose to not making this month's rent, but he spends his free time helping nerdy-but-mighty Mitchell (Charlie Saxton) land a date with foxy coworker Mikki (Maya Erskine) and prank their fellow coworkers instead of looking for a different job.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Somebody who worked on Betas must have held down a stint at a Silicon Valley company, because the show gets a lot of things right: man-boys in ironic T-shirts play with Nerf guns while coworkers try desperately to concentrate underneath their headphones. The first thing a recently funded rival start-up does upon getting a round of investment capital is buy its exec staff matching shirts and stride into the local watering hole to offer Jagerbombs to everyone in the house. Note: That start-up created an app that automatically finds street-parking spaces, always at a premium in Silicon Valley's tech gulches. Yep, Betas has the inside scoop.

It's funny, too, not just in a broad-strokes sitcom way but in its finely drawn characterizations. Nash, the more neurotic of the two buddies who founded Betas' startup, psyches himself up for difficult situations by listening to The Little River Band; Trey is so awkward when approaching a woman at a bar that she calls him an "Aspie." Betas sets interesting characters afloat in a curious milieu that's very much of a particular place and time. It's worth a watch, but parents may want to watch along with teens to counter irresponsible messages as well as the show's sometimes rampant sexism and objectification of women.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether Betas is a realistic look at what it's like inside a start-up technology company. Do you know anyone who works for a company like this? Do they act like these characters? Do you think Betas' workplace would be a fun place to work? Why, or why not?

  • Have you seen other shows set in offices or workplaces? How is Betas different or the same?

  • Betas doesn't have a laugh track. Can you think of any shows that do? Why do you think some shows have laugh tracks and others don't?

TV details

Cast:Charlie Saxton, Joe Dinicol, Karan Soni, Maya Erskine
Network:Amazon
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:Streaming

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Parent Written byWanderingyogi January 17, 2014
age 17+
 

Great Show!!

This is a really great show.The show is not for minors, nor do I think it was intended for them, but Betas has great actors, an amazing actress, and an uncanny non-conventional eclectic way of expressing reality. Though I think the drug use is way overstated, and I do not agree with it by any means, this show is really great and I hope it has long life in the world of T.V.. This show has so much promise, and I wish the best for all these young thespians who have done an exemplary job at their work. Great Show!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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