A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this edgy newsmagazine parody offers frank, pointed social commentary about African-American urban popular culture. The show's mock news stories and comedy sketches are full of strong language (including the occasional unbleeped use of the "N" word), racial stereotyping, sexual innuendo (including images of women wearing thongs and shaking their butts), and references to gang violence, drug trafficking, and other illegal behavior. It's best reserved for mature teens and adults who can connect this kind of humor with the show's intended social statements.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
CHOCOLATE NEWS is a newsmagazine parody that examines and comments on urban popular culture from an African-American perspective. Hosted by David Alan Grier, the series takes a comic perspective on faux news stories and events that impact the African-American community, from the alleged death of hip hop to a bipartisan peace negotiation on use of the "N" word. Grier's team of reporters (played by actors like Rene Cadet and Chase Kim) go into the field to investigate these stories, as well as interview influential members of the African-American community (often played by Grier himself).
Is it any good?
This unapologetic series combines sketch comedy with social satire in an attempt to poke fun at contemporary issues affecting African Americans, from race relations in America to national politics. Grier's unique brand of comedy -- which includes using lots of strong language and stereotypes to make his points -- gives the show its edginess. While some of the humor is a little crude at times, it still manages to push the envelope in a way that will cause people to stop and think about -- if not react to -- some of the controversial subject matter.
No matter what their racial or ethnic background, Chocolate News offers a worthwhile viewing experience to mature viewers from all walks of life who enjoy this brash brand of humor. But with its frequent references to sex, violence, drugs, and other iffy stuff, it definitely isn't for kids, since they won't be able to place that content within the show's more complex social context. In short? This spoof is really for grown-ups.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the issues in play here. Do shows like this one reinforce or dispel stereotypes about African Americans and other racial/ethnic groups in America? What audience do you think Grier is primarily trying to reach? Families can also discuss social commentary in general. When do stereotypes go from being part of a social critique to just offensive? Do you think using stereotypes makes it easier for people to talk about complex, loaded subjects?