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 Impastor doesn't bother hiding any of its off-color humor behind a proverbial fig leaf -- this could almost pass for a comedy on FX or Comedy Central, if it weren't for its slightly cheesy TV Land tone. Questions may be raised about religion and sexual orientation as the main character is posing as a gay pastor (but also declares flat out that he doesn't believe in God). There are graphic verbal descriptions of violence from cops and henchmen alike, but most of the onscreen violence is fairly mild stuff. There are drug references, scenes featuring drinking, and no shortage of crude language -- words like ass, bitch, and hard-on are par for the course, while stronger swears are bleeped. A character has sexual relations (not shown) with a cantaloupe.
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What's the story?
Lowlife ne'erdowell Buddy Dobbs owes big money to a loan shark, who sends his goons to collect the loot by any means necessary (ie: by throwing him into big piles of garbage and threatening to remove important body parts). Unable to interest his bartender girlfriend in joining him for a life on the lam -- she dumps him -- Buddy decides life isn't worth living and tries to off himself. But before he can leap to his death from a bridge, a chance encounter with a kind stranger results in Buddy assuming a whole new identity: that of a gay pastor in what must be the most open-minded small town on earth.
Is it any good?
TV Land is definitely flirting with edgier material than usual with Impastor, and it's mostly a swing and a hit -- with just a few misses. Michael Rosenbaum, Smallville's Lex Luthor, goes Lutheran in this dark comedy. He's clearly relishing the chance to flex his comedic muscles and do something unexpected and it's no wonder: the man spent a decade playing a supervillain. He's a solid talent with a smarmy yet likable charm, but the show does him a disservice at times with humor that's just a little too on-the-nose. Things work best when Impastor backs off the intrusive narration and tacky musical cues and just lets Rosenbaum do his thing. The cast, which also includes Sara Rue (Less Than Perfect, Rules of Engagement, Mircea Monroe (Hart of Dixie), Aimee Garcia (Dexter), and David Rasche (Sledgehammer, Veep) has good chemistry, even if some of the plotlines they get entagled in are a bit over the top.
There's a lot of potential here, as the lead character seems to have an innate talent at helping people in spite of himself, making you root for him even though you should really be repulsed at his often-terrible life choices. If the show can drop some of the more formulaic overtones and let the subversive stuff shine through a bit more, Impastor has the potential to stay afloat just like Noah's Ark.
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