Deadbeat

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Deadbeat TV Poster Image
Druggy lead talks to dead people in a cloud of stereotypes.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show takes subtle digs at a variety of ethnic and religious minorities with humor that's borderline offensive. That said, there's an underlying message that helping other people can affect your own life in a positive way, although it's hardly altruism in this show's case.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is honest, but also generally aimless and selfish, has a pot dependency, and is unintentionally racist. On the plus side, he helps people who wouldn't otherwise have a voice, but he often does it because he needs the money.

Violence

Light violence (punching, kicking, etc.) is played for comedy. Some ghosts have slightly gory injuries.

Sex

Persistent crass talk (think terms like "bareback," "cunnilingus," "bone") and double entendre, plus some simulated sex with no nudity.

Language

Unbleeped swearing includes "s--t," plus sexual language like "bareback," "cunnilingus," "bone."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character uses drugs regularly (including pot and magic mushrooms) and is best friends with his drug dealer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Deadbeat centers on a drug-using slacker who helps ghosts wrap up their unfinished business. You'll see him smoking pot and popping magic mushrooms onscreen and hanging out a lot with his drug dealer -- his only friend. You'll also hear unbleeped swearing (mostly "s--t") and sexually charged terms like "bone" and "bareback." There's some simulated sex, too, but no nudity, as well as some light violence that's played for comedy.

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What's the story?

Kevin "Pac" Pacalioglu (Tyler Labine) is a total DEADBEAT, an overweight slacker who's behind on his rent and counts his drug dealer (Brandon T. Washington) as his one and only friend. But Pac does have one special talent: a gift for gabbing with ghosts that brings freelance work as a medium-for-hire -- and elicits rage from a bestselling "psychic" (Cat Deeley) who becomes his nemesis.

Is it any good?

Deadbeat's creators have described the show's main character as a mix of the kid from The Sixth Sense and the Dude from The Big Lebowski​. But if that was their intention, then they've really missed the mark -- because "The Dude," this guy is not. To us, Tyler Labine's take on Kevin "Pac" Pacalioglu is more like a poor man's Jack Black blended with a splash of Zach Galifianakis​. But not remotely as funny as either of them.

Some viewers might find Deadbeat chuckle-worthy, and to each their own. But parents looking for binge-worthy fare for their teens should know that this exclusively streaming comedy is awash in iffy content -- from drug use and sex slang to borderline racist humor. The writing is woefully unclever, too, relying on far too many recycled stereotypes and resulting in a lifeless comedy that's low on laughs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Deadbeat's message (if it has one) and whether there's anything redeeming for kids. How does Pac measure up as a role model? Do all the "cons" of his personality outweigh the "pro" that he's trying to help (dead) people?

  • Does the fact that Deadbeat airs exclusively on Hulu allow it to do things other comedies can't? How would the series be different if it aired on network television?

  • Who's Deadbeat's intended audience? How can you tell?

TV details

Themes & Topics

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