Free Ride

TV review by
Brenda Kienan, Common Sense Media
Free Ride TV Poster Image
Mean-spirited, unfunny comedy not for kids.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Over-the-top characters engage in an epidemic of abuse, ridicule, physical fighting, and chair-throwing.


Meaningless brawling happens all too often.


Parents and adult children banter about their sex lives.


"F--k" is bleeped out. Plenty of potty humor.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drunkenness is a form of entertainment.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this partly improvised sitcom often relies on crude humor: insults, bathroom jokes, drunken indulgences, and petty jabs at small-town life. The main character has no intention of finding work after college and is a poster child for slacker behavior.

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What's the story?

Billed as a partly improvised sitcom, FREE RIDE is the story of Nate Stahlings (Josh Dean), a 23-year-old who moves back home after college to live with his parents, Margo (Loretta Fox) and Bob (Allan Havey), in a town named Johnson City, Missouri. (Note the nod to locker-room humor.) The kids Nate went to high school with are still living in his hometown, but most are now leading the dull married life, so Nate turns to a new best friend, Dove (Dave Sheridan). Dove is monster-truck goofy, has 1980s heavy-metal-band hair, and in one episode starts dating Nate's desperate-for-love aunt. Nate, meanwhile, is pining for high school sweetheart Amber (Erin Cahill), a bank teller who is engaged to Steve \"Mr. Popular\" Moss (Dan Wells) -- a future real estate mogul who is cartoonishly arrogant and small minded.

Is it any good?

Free Ride is shot mainly in jarring close-ups, and the editing is choppy, putting the focus on specific lines said by specific characters. Meant to be innovative and quirky, the effect fails to create any rhythm of humor, leaving the action chaotic and the dialogue dull.

The show's themes have to do with people who are trapped in middle America, leading small, cramped lives that are headed in one general direction with few alternatives. This isn't funny, but it is sad.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how people make life choices. Is it necessary to go to college and have a professional career to have a rich life? What makes a life meaningful? Where does it seem like Nate's life is heading? Which of these characters, if any, is someone Nate might want to be like?

TV details

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