Blunt Talk

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Blunt Talk TV Poster Image
Older teens only for this hilarious media-savvy comedy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Viewers can see the negative effects of chasing fame and working too hard on things that don't fulfill you, though that message is realized by seeing what a mess our main character's life is, which may not thrill parents. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character Walter Blunt is a drunk, a dabbler in drugs, a masochist, and more, but he's also kindly and respectful to his employees and others he encounters. 

Violence

Cartoonish scuffles have unexpected consequences; injuries to a man's genitals are made light of. Characters collapse as if in death. 

Sex

A man picks up a prostitute who turns out to be transgender; they graphically discuss her genitalia, and she reveals her breasts. A man gives another prostitute violent "lashes," for implied sexual gratification.

Language

Frequent unbleeped cursing; mostly "f--k" and "s--t." 

Consumerism

The setting, a cable news show from Los Angeles, necessitates frequent mentions of real celebrities: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Daniel Craig, and other media notables. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Blunt is an alcoholic (or at least a heavy drinker) who drinks at bars and from flasks before getting behind the wheel of a car (he is arrested for DUI). We see him take marijuana edibles, snort cocaine, and take several prescription pills without knowing what they are.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blunt Talk is a comedy series about a cable news talk show host with an untidy personal life. His drinking and drug use likely will concern parents most: He frequently drinks at bars and out of an ever-present flask; afterward, he slurs his words, is emotionally out of control, and eventually is arrested for drunk driving. Our hero also eats marijuana edibles while driving, takes a handful of prescription pills shared by a friend with a drug problem, and then snorts what he thinks is cocaine only to wake up and discover it was Ambien. Sexual hijinks may raise parent eyebrows: A man picks up a prostitute in his car; they graphically discuss her body parts, and then she reveals her breasts. A melee follows with police; a man is kicked in the testicles and injured, which is later played for laughs. Cursing is continual; many four-letter words are uttered in disgust instead of fury. Despite the naughty content, the overall tone is comedic, and the main character is respectful and kind to those who depend on him. 

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What's the story?

After making the decision to move to Los Angeles to conquer the American cable news market, British newscaster Walter Blunt (Patrick Stewart) is the host of BLUNT TALK, and he's at a crossroads. He's just gone through his third divorce, the future of his relationship with his young son is in question, he's drinking too much, and his ratings have plummeted. If he didn't have his loyal manservant Harry (Adrian Scarborough) and loving right-hand woman Rosalie (Jacki Weaver) to lean on, plus his TV show staffers, there's no telling where he'd be. But even his staff can't save him when he's arrested for patronizing a prostitute and drunk driving, landing him in gossip columns all around the world. Things look dark for Walter Blunt -- can he find some redemption? 

Is it any good?

Crass, profane, and naughty, this sitcom is not for kids -- but adults who appreciate a good, rude media-set comedy and the talents of the very funny Patrick Stewart will be delighted. Blunt Talk takes a "show-don't-tell" approach to characterization that relies on the audience to fill in the blanks. No one has to tell us that Blunt's career is on the decline and that he's feeling out of touch and over the hill, yet trying desperately to hang onto his relevance.

The vintage pop-culture references Blunt makes (Wallis Simpson? Burt Lancaster?) and the expressions on the faces of those who learn Blunt has a wife half his age and a 5-year-old son quickly sketch in the details of this man's situation, and we can get on to the good stuff: Stewart mocking both himself and the media milieu in which the show is set. There's a marvelous moment in the show's pilot in which Stewart decides to interview himself in split-screen. "First, let's tape my emotional reactions!" he says, eyes alight with the zeal of a showman tasked with putting on a show. "Anger with self! Empathy! Coquettishness!" Hilariously, Stewart nails every one of them -- and this show too. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the type of show Walter Blunt stars on. In real life, who are Blunt-like celebrities? What shows are they on, and what channels? What type of influence do they have on news reporting? 

  • How would this show change if it were set at a newspaper or a magazine? What about if it were set in a small town or in the 1950s? 

  • Is the audience supposed to be disgusted by main character Walter Blunt? Are we supposed to fear him? Like him? Empathize with him? How can you tell? 

TV details

For kids who love dark comedy

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