Episodes TV Poster Image

Episodes

(i)

 

Smart, adult-oriented Hollywood spoof with strong language.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The overall feel is that of a black comedy; morals and principles are typically shucked in favor of schmoozing and making money, although those choices don't tend to pay off for everyone concerned. The entertainment world is alternately fabulous and ridiculous, and fame is portayed as fleeting. 

Positive role models

Most characters make significant compromises in favor of fame when it comes to their principles, although the show subtly hints at the hollowness that results.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Some implied sex, intramarital affairs, and references to "wanking" and extra-large male genetalia, with a woman occasionally shown in a bra, etc.

Language

Unbleeped swearing of varying frequency, with audible words like "s--t," "f--k," "c--t," "c--ksucker," "bastard," "ass," and "twat."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Infrequent social drinking, plus references to one character's alcoholism. One of the tween actors smokes, but it's meant to be funny.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this subtly paced comedy is aimed at adults, although most older teens can handle the content, particularly when it comes to lessons about principles, fame and the creation of art. There's some unbleeped swearing that's often uttered in streams, with audible words like "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," and even "c--t." There's also some sexual innuendo and social drinking, in addition to an ongoing joke about a tween smoking cigarettes.

What's the story?

Fresh from raking in accolades for their hit Britcom Lyman's Boys -- a nuanced comedy about a portly headmaster (Richard Griffiths) and his daily dealings with staff and students -- married writers Beverly and Sean Lincoln (Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan) agree to move to Los Angeles and adapt the show for American television. But their modest hopes for mainstream success are shattered through a disheartening series of EPISODES when the network president (John Pankow) and his cronies decide to cast former Friends star Matt LeBlanc (Matt LeBlanc) as a hockey coach and rename the show Pucks!

Is it any good?

QUALITY

When you get wind of a series that's built around Matt LeBlanc -- the guy we all know as the catch-phrasing Joey "How YOU doin'?" Tribbiani -- it immediately conjures up bad memories of Lost In Space. Or Joey. But dare we say this Showtime dramedy is the best thing LeBlanc's done to date? Fans crowed for his broad antics on Friends. But by parodying his own career on Episodes and playing a fictionalized version of himself, he's funnier than ever before.

Greig and Mangan ground the story and turn in winning performances as the series' befuddled Brits, and the rest of the casting is spot-on. But the show's shrewd handling of the insidious relationship between British and American television -- and Hollywood's unabashed more-is-more approach to comedy -- is even more entertaining.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fame and what it means to be a celebrity in American culture. What does it take to be successful in the entertainment business? If you had your own chance to be rich and famous, where would you draw the line?

  • What are the major differences beween television series that air in the United States and Britain, at least according to the show's writers? Which do you prefer? Is British humor really that much different than American comedy?

  • How close does the series get to the realities of Hollywood, particularly when it comes to the creation -- and occasional destruction -- of art?

TV details

Premiere date:January 9, 2011
Cast:Matt LeBlanc, Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig
Network:Showtime
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-MA

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Quality

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byTvAlex February 3, 2011

Nice That Matt is back on his feet

What other families should know
Too much swearing

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