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 Friends with Better Lives is a multi-camera sitcom with a cast of attractive thirtysomethings struggling with life and love. There is some onscreen drinking, and cursing, but what will primarily concern parents is the nonstop barrage of sex jokes, which touch on casual sex, sexual marathons, specific sexual acts, body parts, and so on. There is plenty of salty language, and adult situations such as characters in their underwear, making out in bed, and one character using a breast pump (we see no nudity). Some of the characters are married, others are single and dating; expect revolving partners and jokes about love and sex.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In FRIENDS WITH BETTER LIVES, Will (James Van Der Beek) and Bobby (Kevin Connolly) are friends and partners in a OB/Gyn practice. Will is recently divorced and pining for his ex-wife; Bobby is married to Andi (Majandra Delfino), and pining for his fun and carefree single days. Meanwhile, Will has moved on with Andi and Bobby and their two kids until he can put his life back together. Orbiting this nucleus is Jules (Brooklyn Decker) and her new fiance Lowell (Rick Donald), a yoga-catchphrase-spouting judgmental owner of a vegan restaurant, and Kate (Zoe Lister Jones), the fierce CEO of a thriving social media company who has bad luck with dating.
Is it any good?
Like so many so-so comedies, Friends with Better Lives has the beats of funny, without the actual funny. We know from the way the actors pause and then hit their lines that we're supposed to be laughing. But we're not actually laughing at jokes about wives who don't give their husbands enough oral, or vegan restaurants that (get this!) make cheese out of nuts! It's hard to shake the feeling that Friends with Better Lives is yet another retread on the same old Friends setup, with a foxy ensemble cast set loose in scenarios both sexy and silly. It's equally hard not to imagine the series of pitch meetings CBS held for How I Met Your Mother that resulted in Friends with Better Lives.
It's a pity, too, because like HIMYM, Friends with Better Lives features appealing actors, especially the gimlet-eyed Zoe Lister Jones, who bites off every line like she's speaking through a mouthful of glass shards. Van Der Beek, too, has a great smarmy affect that puts one in mind of the early days of Neil Patrick Harris on HIMYM. If only this show would let these two good actors be recognizable people instead of sitcom characters delivering quips.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's title. What does it mean? Which characters does it refer to? Does the title remind you of the title of any other shows?
Two of the characters on Friends with Better Lives claim to have children. Where are they? Are they seen onscreen? In families with children, are the children frequently absent in a similar way? Why would a show want to refer to but not show children?
How realistic is the dialogue on this show? Do you know people who talk like this?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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