Crisis in Six Scenes

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Crisis in Six Scenes TV Poster Image
Mild but talky series will appeal most to Woody Allen fans.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The Munsingers have a good marriage, which they realize and appreciate: "We are very, very lucky people," says Kay, about to climb into bed with her husband. They wish their friends well and treat them kindly. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Basically good characters make mistakes while trying to do the right thing; they struggle with what's best but make poor choices. 

Violence

References to news stories about civilian massacres in Vietnam and domestic bombing. 

Sex

Most of the characters in this show are married or planning to get married. 

Language

Infrequent cursing, often in the context of a joke: "God f--ked him over." Occasional swearing: "Jesus!" 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Of-age characters drink cocktails and wine and smoke cigarettes; no one acts drunk. Kay seems to have a wine glass glued to her hand most of the time; she even brings a wine bottle to bed. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crisis in Six Scenes is a domestic drama about a long-married couple in the late 1960s. Expect infrequent cursing, often in the context of jokes: "God f--ked him over." Characters smoke cigarettes and drink wine and cocktails; they also say unflattering things about older people ("Is he senile? Did you marry him for his money?") and law enforcement ("fascist pigs!"). Characters refer to violent acts -- bombings, civilian massacres in Vietnam -- but no violence takes place on-screen. 

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What's the story?

CRISIS IN SIX SCENES revolves around Sidney (Woody Allen) and Kay Munsinger (Elaine May), whose genteel and serene suburban 1960s existence is shaken up when Lennie Dale (Miley Cyrus) appears by way of climbing in one of their windows. She's on the run from the cops, having bombed a draft board hoping to disrupt the Vietnam War. Now Sidney and Kay are concealing her presence, delivering strange suitcases to strange men, and otherwise stepping out of their uneventful domestic life. 

Is it any good?

This talky series has its charms but ultimately doesn't really go anywhere. Its fan base will probably be those who are already converted to Woody Allen fandom, as this show is an Allen creation top to bottom. One saving grace: Given Allen's penchant for casting much younger women as the love interests for increasingly older men, many viewers will be relieved that age-appropriate Elaine May is Sidney's wife in Crisis in Six Scenes. Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, is here to epitomize the generation gap and provide the catalyst for a lot of anxious conversation and coffee-making, as the Munsingers digest just what a problem has suddenly dropped into their suburb-of-New-York living room. 

Not that the conversation's not occasional witty fun. A scene in which May and a bunch of her friends pick apart a classic book is a scream, and a running joke in which Allen tries for a James Dean haircut is cute, too. It's just that this series meanders aimlessly; the characters follow each other from living room to bedroom to foyer nattering on about Greek islands cruises and people they know from art galleries. It's pleasant enough, but unless you're already a fan of Allen's style, this probably won't convert you. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the 1960s are a popular setting for TV dramas such as Crisis in Six Scenes. What was it about this era of American history that makes it interesting? What dramatic possibilities does it hold? How does this show communicate that it's set in an earlier time period? 

  • Is the audience supposed to think Lennie Dale is a good character or a bad character? How do dramas communicate which characters to view sympathetically and which to find unsympathetic? 

  • Have you seen any of Woody Allen's movies? How is this show like or unlike his movies? 

TV details

For kids who love comedy

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