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How to Be a Gentleman
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 this sitcom mines laughs from stereotypes about what it means to "be a man," which could send teens some mixed messages about masculinity. There's also some physical fighting played for comedy, along with sexual innuendo and crude banter about "nailing" women, etc. Other language is pretty light (mainly terms like "bitchiness"), and there's some social drinking, too.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When his sister (Mary Lynn Rajskub) gets him a gift certificate for a personal training session at the local gym, tightly wound columnist Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) comes face to face with the one person he never wanted to see again: Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon), the guy who made his high school days a living hell. But the two soon form an unlikely friendship that teaches Andrew how to let go of his outdated notions of HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN.
Is it any good?
When the Odd Couple formula works, it's classic comedy, whether it's the original small-screen team of Tony Randall and Jack Klugman or the cross-dressing Bosom Buddies. But when it doesn't, it just feels like a painful cliche. The two keys, of course, are character and casting.
Unfortunately, Gentleman falls short on both counts; neither main character is well-written or compelling, and together, Hornsby and Dillon have zero chemistry. And that's a real shame, too, considering that the supporting cast includes some consistently funny character actors (Rajskub and Nancy Lenehan) whose talents are largely wasted here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Odd Couple formula and why it's become such a go-to cliche. Does the use of clear-cut stereotypes help or hinder the laugh factor? Can you imagine what these characters would be like if they were less predictable?
How does this sitcom relate to the source material that spawned it (John Bridges' nonfiction book How to Be a Gentleman)? How does it differ in tone and concept? Do the book and the TV show have anything in common besides the title? How do you think the book became a series?
What's your take on the gentleman vs. man debate? Is it really so bad to be a gentleman? What does "being a man" mean to you?
For kids who love comedy
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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.