Forever

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Forever TV Poster Image
Surreal comedy has inventive, absurd laughs, language.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Show is too surreal and odd to have positive messages that really land, but it definitely encourages viewers to think and question reality.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

Women and people of color have strong roles, and most are pretty respectful to each other. 

Violence

Death figures strongly in the plot, though we don't see dead bodies or gory injuries. Ghosts, notions of the afterlife are important. 

Sex

Sexual content is mostly confined to talking about sex, like when a woman says she's trading "filthy pictures" with a man and shows one to another woman, whereupon they both goggle at it. 

Language

Language: "s--t," "f---ing," "f--k," "sucks." At one point June retreats from a winter day shrieking "Jesus motherf----ing Christ, that's cold!" An 11-year-old boy tells a woman to go sit on her "old fat ass"; she tells him to "suck my d--k." The 11-year-old also calls a man a "p---y." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink alcohol; no one acts drunk. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Forever is a comedy about a couple (Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen) whose boring domestic life is interrupted by an odd twist of fate, and then resumes in a surreal way. Other than the frequent language -- which is used for comic effect, but makes frequent use of "s--t," "f--k," and "motherf---er" -- the show is clean enough for tweens and teens who aren't bothered by the show's focus on death and the afterlife, which is presented in an absurd instead of realistic way. The show has some ribald sexual jokes, like when a woman talks about swapping "filthy pictures" with a man and shows one to another woman. There are also young characters who are disrespectful to older ones, like a bratty kid who calls a man a "p---y" and tells a woman to go sit on her "old fat ass." But the show is better for mature teens mostly because the humor is subtle, absurd, and nuanced (as well as hilarious). 

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What's the story?

Married couple June (Rudolph) and Oscar (Armisen) are as comfortable as two old shoes in their middle-class suburban life, and they probably would have stayed that way FOREVER. But when June decides to shake things up one year and go on a skiing trip instead of their traditional lake house vacation, that decision suddenly snowballs into a lot more change -- and togetherness -- than either June or Oscar bargained for. 

 

Is it any good?

Screamingly funny in a quiet, absurd way, and built around a high-concept oddball idea that's almost impossible not to spoil (but we'll do our best), this surpassingly strange comedy is a gem. The broad outlines of June and Oscar's life are sketched in a dialogue-free five-minute sequence that shows them eating the same fish dinner over and over, and the only thing that changes are the plaids of Oscar's shirt and June's hairstyle. Okay, after watching that we're ready for the rhythms of a domestic comedy. That's what we get for a little while, watching June and Oscar go about their bland -- but not bad -- marital life. The two aren't exactly unhappy. Sometimes they're even in sync, like when they debate the absolute best way to spend a half-hour. They shoot down a bath, a massage, and watching an episode of Jeopardy! before agreeing that half an hour is really too long for sex. 

But by the end of the first episode, Forever takes a wild turn -- and halfway into the second one, yet another, launching the couple's life into Beetlejuice and The Good Place territory. As June and Oscar slowly find their footing in their new circumstances -- and a bizarre, and quite wonderfully entertaining world is built for us -- viewers may find themselves feeling shocked almost as often as they laugh. And liking it. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Why are shows about mysterious realms and dismal futures such a staple in movies and television? What do they say about the dreams or fears of those watching them? What dramatic or comedic possibilities do they offer? 

  • Would revealing the twists of this show make it less enjoyable? How was watching TV different when everyone had to watch at the same time or not watch it all? Were spoilers something people talked about then? 

  • Have you seen Fred Armisen or Maya Rudolph in other shows? How does that affect how you view their characters on this show? Are you more prepared to laugh, having laughed at things they've said or done before? 

TV details

For kids who love dark comedy

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