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Britcom's mature shop talk is built for adults.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Body-related humor (like gas) is common. An unmarried couple lives together. There's ongoing animosity between two characters who call each other names ("chubs," "crusty," etc.) and play childish pranks on each other.


Playful scuffles that never result in injury.


Characters talk about "shagging" and use slang terms like "c--k" and "t--s" for body parts. There's some kissing and lots of innuendo (a guy implies he's heard reports that his buddy has a small penis, for example). A waitress often lays out customers' food to look like body parts (two mounds of scrambled eggs with dots of ketchup in the middle; a sausage standing tall between two dollops of mashed potatoes, etc.).


"Bitch," "s--t," and "piss" are audible and used sporadically.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some joking about "drugging" and drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this British sitcom includes slang terms for body parts ("c--k" and "t--s," for instance), lots of sexual innuendo, and male and female characters who are obsessed with sex. Strong language is sporadic, but there's a constant battle of harsh insults -- including references to weight and age -- between two characters who despise each other. This series is definitely geared toward adults, who can best appreciate the hot-cold feelings among co-workers and the show's humorous take on life's little irritants.

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What's the story?

London-set sitcom HARDWARE centers on Hamway's Hardware Store, where customers receive personal service, knowledgeable answers to their questions ... and hefty doses of patronization from the four-man staff. As store manager, Rex (Ken Morley) should set the bar for his employees' work habits, but between his spitefulness toward do-it-yourself customers and his obsession with sex, he's often the shop-talk ringleader. Trainee Steve (Ryan Cartwright) is a student who's often the brunt of Rex's jokes and is also unreasonably smug, given his tendency toward utter cluelessness. Kenny (Peter Serafinowicz) loves the hardware store but rarely does much work, while Kenny's best friend, Mike (Martin Freeman), tries to rise above the tediousness of the shop and his motley crew of co-workers. Mike's live-in girlfriend, Anne (Susan Earl), works at the nearby Nice Day Café, which is a hot spot for the guys -- and Rex's favorite place to hurl insults at his nemesis, Anne's trash-talking, sex-crazed friend, Julie (Ella Kenion).

Is it any good?


This lighthearted sitcom is full of fluffy content that's not likely to tax your mind. The humor stems from the show's quirky characters and their mismatched relationships and frustration over typical woes like losing a job, running low on funds, and getting the short end of the stick after trying to do the right thing. Strong language and sexual innuendo (including café meals designed to look like genitalia) are likely to be parents' biggest concerns.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about work issues. How do you relate to co-workers? How can you overcome differences with a co-worker? What difficulties can arise from working with good friends? Teens: What's your ideal job? What kind of work environment would you want? Do you work better with or without other people? Could you work in a job that paid less but gave you more fulfillment? Families can also discuss the characteristics that mark British comedies. How do you think this show would be different if it were made in the United States?

TV details

Premiere date:March 23, 2003
Cast:Ken Morley, Martin Freeman, Peter Serafinowicz
Network:BBC America
TV rating:TV-14

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