Dog Bites Man

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Dog Bites Man TV Poster Image
Fake news at its best, but a bad choice for kids.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

News team members show a lack of professional ethics and will even make up news if they have to. Sexual harrassment is also a regular part of the workplace, but the lone female of an all-male news crew holds her own and slings it back.

Violence
Sex

Sexual innuendo and crude body part jokes are common, and homosexuality is sometimes used as a punchline. Two of the main characters have an on-again, off-again sexual relationship -- a pattern that started when one of them was a secretary and the other was her boss.

Language

Locker-room humor relies on words like "hooker," "whore," "balls," "sack," and "testicles."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters discuss drinking wine, beer, and liquor, which usually leads to poor judgment, mishaps, and regrettable one-night stands. Steroid use is mentioned in the show's premiere episode.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this farce isn't meant to be taken seriously. They're not real reporters. It's not real news. (And the fact that some of the people they interview don't know that is all part of the fun.) The show's aggressive use of sexual innuendo isn't appropriate for younger viewers and sets a poor example for teens, but that doesn't mean they won't watch.

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What's the story?

DOG BITES MAN takes a few of its cues from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report but adds an increasingly popular comic twist: a "mockumentary" format that's part scripted, part improv, and undeniably funny. The plot follows the antics of the Spokane, Wash.-based KHBX "news" team -- on-air personality Kevin Beekin (Matt Walsh), producer Tillie Sullivan (Andrea Savage), cameraman Alan Finger (Zach Galifianakis), and trusty assistant Marty Shonson (A.D. Miles). Each episode finds these TV journalists chasing down their next "hard-hitting" story, an endeavor that involves startling exposés on professional bodybuilding and homophobia -- and once resulted in the local Emmy Award-winning segment "What's in Your Muffin?"

Is it any good?

Most adults and older children are bound to chuckle at this single-camera comedy. But the show's humor, while smart, relies too much on off-color bathroom references (with an unexplained focus on testicles), and characters are typically shown doing and saying things you wouldn't want your kids to repeat. On the plus side, the show can be used as a starting point for family discussions about the way news is actually produced and whether it's ever truly objective -- or, for that matter, newsworthy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way the show portrays the integrity of television news -- and whether or not it hits the mark. How does TV news produced at the local level compare with national news broadcasts? To what extent do reporters' on-air personalities match their off-camera antics? What makes a topic newsworthy as opposed to simply scandalous? And, ethics-wise, what are the downsides to having a sexual relationship with someone you work with?

TV details

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