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 Ill Behaviour is a very dark comedy about two friends who kidnap a third friend and force him to undergo chemotherapy. The characters -- all deeply flawed, some might say amoral -- are shown drinking, smoking, and doing drugs (cocaine, marijuana). There are a few sex scenes; one male character is sexually assaulted by a female character. There are a few bloody scenes; some are played for slapstick effect while others have a more disturbing tone. Wounds are inflicted with weapons like crossbows and guns.
What's the story?
ILL BEHAVIOUR tells the story of immature 30-something Joel (Chris Geere): newly rich after being divorced by his ex-wife, who left him with a few million quid, but without any real purpose in his life. When Joel and longtime friend Tess (Jessica Regan) discover that their old school chum Charlie (Tom Riley) has been diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma and is opting to treat his cancer holistically -- with acupuncture and fruit smoothies instead of chemotherapy -- they hatch a plan to kidnap him and force him to go the Western medicine route, by any means necessary (hint: those "means" involve chains and a basement). Rounding out this crew of miscreants is Joel's recent one-night stand, alcoholic oncologist Nadia (Lizzy Caplan), a doctor who's willing to bend the rules for a bit of cold, hard cash.
Is it any good?
Boring it's not, but wow is the tone all over the place. One minute, it's an absurdist farce with sprays of stage blood and similar gross-out gags, and in the next, it's a nihilistic meditation on toxic friendships and morality. None of the characters are particularly likable, though the closest might be Tess, the aspiring cyborg-romance novelist who nurses a secret crush on oblivious Joel (she is woefully underutilized here). Ill Behaviour examines the way people -- with all their imperfections, and weird motivations hidden even to themselves -- can screw up lives even when trying to do the right thing, and it may even spark some debates about what exactly the "right" thing is.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lengths people go to for their friends. Do you think Joel really had Charlie's best interests in mind in Ill Behaviour? How does his backstory with Charlie's wife complicate matters?
Do you think Joel and Tess handled their concerns about Charlie in an appropriate way? Do the ends justify the means in a situation like theirs? What about the things Nadia -- a stranger -- did to Charlie?