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F Is for Family
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that F Is for Family is an animated sitcom about a nuclear family in 1973. Jokes are frequently off-color and sometimes profane: A dad warns his teen son he doesn't want "half-slut" grandkids and speculates that a neighbor has "the clap." Expect frequent cursing ("s--t," "hell," "goddamn," "f--k") and off-color references to sex, bodily fluids, and body parts, as well as racist language (a minor character says "Orientals" have hands too small for good manufacturing). Characters drink beer frequently on-screen and act aggressive and silly. Cartoonish violence: Kids trap another in a tree and threaten to kill each other, and a boxer has a bloody face. A teen boy says he really likes a teen girl, but it's to get her to have sex; married characters have sex with moaning and thrusting. A teen says he "f---king hates" his dad. Characters are frequently insulting and unkind to each other, but, like the show it takes many cues from -- All in the Family -- it does have heart.
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What's the story?
Created by comedian Bill Burr and writer Michael Price (The Simpsons), F IS FOR FAMILY takes place in 1973, a time when people smoked indoors, used pay phones, read newspapers, and threatened their rebellious teen sons with a trip to Vietnam. Frank Murphy (Burr) is the family patriarch, who just wants everybody to shut up so he can enjoy his beer and TV in peace. Sue (Laura Dern) is his wife, a stay-at-home mom who sells plastic storage on the side. Kevin (Justin Long) is their difficult 14-year-old; Bill (Haley Reinhart) their conflicted middle child; and Maureen (Debi Derryberry) the angelic youngest. The Murphys may not have a lot of money, and they bicker nonstop. But underneath it all, they're a family and always there for each other when needed.
Is it any good?
At first glance this looks to be yet another animated family sitcom that attempts mild-shock humor, but this show is more nuanced and amusing than it would first appear. Trailers for the show amp up Burr's "non-PC" humor, but between the offensive jokes are sharp moments of observational comedy that are a lot more appealing. Sue bursts into tears over the emptiness of her life right in the middle of organizing stacks of the plastic ware she sells to neighbors; Frank's plot to bring Kevin to work to straighten him out is an unexpected success. In addition, those who lived through the 1970s will thoroughly enjoy the period-correct details: phone number lists hanging up by the curly-corded wall phone, hair dryers with a bonnet attachment, cars with rusty fenders and doors so heavy they rebound when you push them open and crush your leg. Families with teens and up may want to check out this heavy but fun comedy.