Getting On

 
Bone-dry comedy about aging is bleak -- and a bit blue.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show as a whole doesn't paint a rosy picture of aging and elder care; people die, patients are treated like numbers, and loneliness is palpable. But thanks to an emerging friendship between coworkers, there's at least some sense of hope.

Positive role models

Although they don't always make the best choices, most of the nurses want to do their jobs well and have their patients' best interests at heart. The unit's director of medicine, who is selfish and manipulative, is an obvious foil.

Violence

Characters tend to argue a lot, sometimes with their superiors or underlings. Patients can be mildly violent (pushing, slapping, punching) with their caretakers. Blood is minimal.

Sex

Characters talk about sex and describe sexual acts (although usually in a clinical manner). On one occasion, a blow job is simulated, but no actual nudity is shown.

Language

Unbleeped swearing includes "bitch," "s--t," "f--k," and "c--ksucker," plus slurs such as "fairy," "dyke," and "coon."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking to excess is discussed but isn't shown on-screen. Characters use, but don't abuse, prescription medication.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, although Getting On is set in the slow-paced world of geriatric care, the show is pretty salty in terms of language, with unbleeped swearing ranging from "c--ksucker" to "f--k," in addition to slurs such as "coon" and "dyke." There's sexual content, too, with mostly clinical descriptions of sexual acts and, in at least one episode, simulated oral sex. Although there's minimal blood for a medical show, characters do tend to argue a lot, and some patients can be physically and verbally abusive to their caretakers. Social drinking to excess is discussed but never shown on-screen.

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What's the story?

While tending to an ever-rotating roster of female patients who are GETTING ON in years, the staff of the struggling Mt. Palms Hospital's extended care unit are struggling with their own problems. Overseeing the unit is self-absorbed Dr. Jenna James (Laurie Metcalf), who would rather be somewhere -- anywhere -- else. But the nurses do most of the work, including veteran staffer Dawn (Alex Borstein), a stickler for red tape who can't quite stick to her guns, and newcomer DiDi (Niecy Nash), whose common-sense approach somehow makes her look like the crazy one.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's no doubt that Getting On bears the stamp of the namesake British series it's based on, from the washed-out cinematography tones to the deafening silence of medical equipment that runs antithetical to most American comedies. In fact, at times, Getting On feels a lot like the British mockumentary The Office, replacing middle managers with middling directors of medicine and beeping photocopiers with defibrillators.

Trouble is, you're far less likely to care about this ragtag group of medical professionals, thanks to writing that doesn't make them feel quite human. And, although Getting On might have a lot to say about the state of healthcare in the United States and the realities of aging in America, its approach is so bleak -- in spite of its penned-to-offend dialogue -- that most viewers will be too bummed to keep watching.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the realities of getting older and what that means in terms of medical care. How accurately does Getting On portray the field of geriatric medicine? What's the overall tone or takeaway regarding aging?

  • Does Getting On tend to gloss over cause-and-effect for the sake of comedy? What are the real-life consequences of getting sexually involved with a coworker, making off-color jokes in the workplace, or lashing out inappropriately?

  • How does Getting On compare to the British series of the same name on which it's based? What changes did the writers make to appeal to American audiences?

TV details

Cast:Alex Borstein, Laurie Metcalf, Niecy Nash
Network:HBO
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:Streaming

This review of Getting On was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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