A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The positive messages are often cautionary ones in this tale about instability, addiction, and the shortcomings of fame. Money and success aren't enough to satisfy unbalanced appetites, and unfulfilled expectations lead to suffering.
Positive Role Models
Wynette and Jones are both talented and passionate, but both allow their personal problems to overshadow their artistry. Both are addicts, and struggle with mental health and relationships with loved ones, including romantic and family relationships.
Characters are all White, from a working-class Southern milieu.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence has an intimate edge that's unnerving: A drunken character "ventilates" a tour bus by shooting holes into it as his friends cower, a man takes nude photos of his wife without her consent which he then uses to blackmail her. We also see Wynette having electroshock therapy, biting on a rubber teether before her body arches from a gurney in agony.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A sexual connection disrupts a marriage; we see characters flirting, then kissing, then in bed, passionately kissing and making suggestive motions and sounds.
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Cursing includes "f--k," "s--t," "bitching," "goddammit," "son of a bitch," and slurs against women, such as when a man calls a woman a "lying whore."
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Products & Purchases
Jones' and Wynette's hit songs are frequently referred to and performed in full.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
We see Jones in particular guzzling liquor in many scenes, and referring, often jokingly, to being drunk out of his mind onstage and off. Both Wynette and Jones smoke cigarettes and the camera lingers on dramatic smoke trails. Wynette becomes addicted to pain pills, then injectable opioids.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that George & Tammy is a limited series about the tumultuous lives and romantic relationship of country music stars George Jones (Michael Shannon) and Tammy Wynette (Jessica Chastain). Both were married as they met, yet began an affair that culminated in a marriage and many hit song; expect to see them flirting, kissing, in bed having sex with suggestive movements and noises (no private parts are visible). In less romantic moments, the two scream at each other and throw things. Jones is an alcoholic and we see him guzzling liquor frequently, as well as slurring his words and committing acts of violence, including overturning a table and shooting holes in the roof of a tour bus as bandmates cower. Both Jones and Wynette smoke cigarettes often, and physical injuries lead Wynette to become addicted to pain pills, then opioids that she injects. Cursing includes "f--k," "s--t," "son of a bitch," and "goddammit," while rough language includes slurs against women and sex workers: "lying whore." Wynette and Jones share a passionate connection and have mutual respect for each other, but their substance abuse and untreated mental illness makes their relationship founder and then fail.
Is It Any Good?
Delicate and wistful, this unusually effective bio-series follows the typical beats of a behind-the-music style treatment but the powerhouse puts it in a league above. Of course, fans of country music, Jones, Wynette, or all three know that the narrative is headed nowhere good, but the acting by Shannon and Chastain is so affecting, and the chemistry between them so potent that danged if George & Tammy doesn't make you wish for a while that it would work out between these two great big messes. Chastain is particularly magical during long scenes in which she performs Wynette's hits like "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" and "Stand By Your Man"; what might have been inert in other dramatizations makes you feel the heartbreak lying just behind the words (and her singing, like Shannon's, was recorded for the film and is startlingly good).
These performances, the brisk pace, and the sumptuous visuals all make it easy to fall into George & Tammy's story and forget for long moments the inevitable conclusion. Director John Hillcoat has an unusually keen eye for details that show instead of telling: the ersatz gleam of rhinestones on Jones' stage suit as he lolls drunkenly beside a toilet, the crisp smack of hundreds of hard-soled shoes stomping impatiently on a concrete floor as a grouchy crowd waits for the show to start. We've seen these moments before and seen similar stories told, but George & Tammy's artistry makes it all feel new, alluring, and terribly sad.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.