Cavemen TV Poster Image

Cavemen

(i)

 

Ad-inspired sitcom turns oppression into a joke.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters are members of an oppressed group, and the connections the show makes between them and real minority groups, like African Americans, can be a jumping off point for discussion -- but it can also seem belittling to a serious subject.

Violence

Some slapstick/comic violence, like accidently hitting someone with a stick.

Sex

References to sex and relationships, such as the stereotype that cavemen are "wild" in bed. Some brief kissing and embracing between couples, as well as the lead-up to the possibility of sex.

Language

Mild profanity like "hell" and "screw," as well as some sexual language, like "balls."

Consumerism

The show was inspired by a series of Geico insurance commercials.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some social drinking and occasional drunkeness.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that in this silly sitcom (which was inspired by a series of Geico insurance ads), cavemen are on the receiving end of prejudices similar to those experienced by African-Americans and other minority groups. Jokes about oppression and prejudice are constant, and, while treated with humor, could be interpreted as making too light of a serious real-life subject. Sexual humor is common (in one episode, a woman tries to seduce a caveman because of the stereotype that cavemen are "wild" in bed), as are social drinking and words like "hell" and "screw." Couples occasionally kiss, embrace, or dance seductively, but these moments are brief and usually comic.

Kids say

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What's the story?

If you were a fan of the Geico insurance commercials about oppressed cavemen, you're in luck. Now the three hairy Cro-Magnons have their own sitcom -- called, fittingly enough, CAVEMAN. Lead character Joel (Bill English) is engaged to a beautiful modern woman who loves him for the caveman that he is, though her family hasn't yet accepted him. Nick (Nick Kroll) is the cynical best friend who sees judgment everywhere and lashes out frequently. And Joel's little brother, Andy (Sam Huntington), is an easygoing fellow, perhaps a little slow on the uptake, who's oblivious to others' opinions of him. The three guys consistently find themselves in situations where they have to deal with misunderstandings and stereotypes associated with cavemen.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Most of the circumstances are outright gags -- don't expect much subtle humor here. What little depth the show has comes from its allusions to modern race relations. For example, when money goes missing at a party, all eyes immediately turn suspiciously toward the central trio -- the only cavemen in attendance -- pointing, albeit lightly, toward the embedded racism of mainstream society.

While the caveman gags quickly wear thin, the cavemen-as-minority formula is actually a good opportunity to discuss racial and other types of prejudice with teens. The Cro-Magnons serve as a safe proxy for oppressed groups because they're so unreal, but their experiences can shine a light on what certain groups really go through. Of course, the danger here is that sometimes the show's lightweight approach to the serious subject of race ends up feeling like belittlement rather than examination.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the media's relationship to stereotypes, prejudice, and oppression. Does the media typically reinforce the beliefs that lead to these problems or question them? Can addressing serious topics with humor help shed light on their sobering realities? In the case of this show, does it take that approach, or does it belittle the experiences of real-life minority groups? Families can also discuss the show's origins. Does knowing it was inspired by a series of ads make you take it more or less seriously? Why?

TV details

Premiere date:October 2, 2007
Cast:Bill English, Nick Kroll, Sam Huntington
Network:ABC
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

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Adult Written bybriyun April 9, 2008

Cavemen?

ABC teaches our society to be more accepting of other races by using cavemen as the example of what's different? I'm sure hispanics and blacks and gays appreciate being rolled into the group that includes cavemen. In any event, the show was NOT about cavemen. It was about three roommates who had big hair and brows. It was My Two Dads without the kids. And, it was probably more about insurance than cavemen. Horrible.
Adult Written bytarsu April 9, 2008

Terrible, terrible, terrible.

I had been looking forward to the cavemen series. I even had my recorder set up so I wouldn't miss the show. What a disappointment for my wife and I. We turned the show off after about 15 minutes because we just couldn't stomach any more of the trash. This is by far the worst show I've watched on TV in a very long time.
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Funny show, but I was disappointed...

I have been anxiously awaiting this show considering I love the Geico ads, and there's nothing good in prime time on Tuesday nights. I needed this show to work, and although it had its funny moments, I was expecting more. I'm trying to give it a shot, so unless it improves, I'll bag it. If I were you, I'd watch just to see if you like it or not, but if you don't enjoy it, then just keep flippin' the channels on your remote.

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