By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Loan shark dramedy has plenty of iffy stuff.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The main characters' family business offers high-interest loans to people who can't get regular bank loans; their business breeds all kinds of sketchy behavior, including bribery and violence. They cater to lower socioeconomic sectors of society. Lots of focus on buying material goods. That said, the Buffkins are a close and caring family; matriarch Bobette focuses on keeping them together. But Morgan questions the morality of their work. The Buffkins are Caucasian, but their clients and competition come from all walks of life.
Violence & Scariness
Debtors, collectors, and thugs are seen hitting, punching, pushing, and shoving each other. Blood is sometimes visible.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some strong sexual innuendo. Animated computer images of women in thongs and wearing pasties are occasionally shown. One character is addicted to Internet porn sites. A strip bar is located across the street from Prestige; women are occasionally shown wearing skimpy underwear and dancing provocatively (sometimes against a pole).
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Language includes words like "bitch" and "ass cherries." The anti-Semitic term "shylock" is occasionally used to describe the loan sharks.
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Products & Purchases
Lots of verbal and visual references to businesses located in shopping malls, including Arby's, Borders, and Pep Boys. The Buffkins drive expensive cars like Hummers and BMWs. Budweiser and Coca-Cola logos are somewhat visible. Morgan is named after the bank Morgan Stanley.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Visible consumption of beer and hard liquor. Occasional subtle drug references.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this series centers on a family of loan sharks whose business breeds lots of negative behavior -- including beating up debtors, fighting with thugs, and bribing police officers. That said, they're actually a loving, close-knit group. Expect strong sexual innuendo, including visits to a strip bar, where skimpy underwear and suggestive dancing are visible. There's also some strong language ("bitch," "ass") and drinking (beer, mixed drinks), and the logos/brands of many businesses, cars, and other products are visible.
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What's the Story?
EASY MONEY centers on the Buffkins, an eccentric family of loan sharks who run a quick cash business in the Southwest. The family is led by matriarch Bobette Buffkin (Laurie Metcalf), who's also the brains behind Prestige Payday Loans. Bobette's right-hand man is her favorite son, Morgan (Jeff Jephner), whose thirst for education and personal values doesn't really fit in with the rest of the gang -- including dad Roy (Nick Searcy), clueless brother Cooper (Jay Ferguson), and lively younger sister Brandy (Katie Lowes). As the Buffkins work to keep their business going despite the efforts of a corrupt local police officer (Chris Browning) and turf wars with local thugs, Morgan questions both his relationship with his family and the ethics of loan sharking, especially when British grad student Julia Miller (Marsha Thomason) discovers a secret about his past.
Is It Any Good?
The dark comedy offers a unique blend of humor and drama as it combines a behind-the- scenes look at the seedy world of loan sharking with the story of a close-knit, supportive family. As a result, even though Morgan and other family members resort to bribing and occasional physical violence to conduct their business, it's hard not to like them -- or at least root for them when somebody goes after them.
But while the show affirms the importance of family, the Buffkins' efforts to profit from people in need doesn't make Easy Money an ideal pick for young viewers. There's also some strong sexual innuendo, fist fights, drinking, and occasional drug references. That said, older teens and adults may appreciate the show's solid writing and may find the characters and plotlines entertaining enough to while away an evening.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether the family in this show seems at all realistic. Is it believable that people who do what the Buffkins do for a living would be as loving and close as they are? How about the rest of their world -- does it seem authentic? Families can also discuss the show's tone, which is a mix of drama and comedy. How do shows and movies that focus on serious or dark themes get laughs? Is it jarring to switch from one tone to the other?
- Premiere date: October 5, 2008
- Cast: Jeff Hephner, Laurie Metcalf, Marsha Thomason
- Network: CW
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: February 24, 2022
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