In Case of Emergency

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
In Case of Emergency TV Poster Image
High school pals reunite as pathetic adults.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Characters are all pathetic, and most are involved in negative activities (prostitution, corporate crime, binging, stalking). The show is about these characters turning their lives around, though the fact that they're involved in these things is what makes the show funny. Some ethnic humor regarding Koreans and Jews.


Exaggerated violence including a punch in the face (causing a broken nose); threats of violence from police officer boyfriend toward girlfriend and male friends. One character considers attempting suicide and ends up shooting himself in the foot with a gun.


Scene in "massage" parlor (including off-screen masturbation); revealing clothing; lots of explicit sexual dialogue.


"Jackass" and "sucks," among other relatively mild expletives.


Fake junk food brands. Kid wears "Incredibles" t-shirt.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking. Discussion of taking lithium.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this adult-oriented sitcom doesn't feature any good role models to speak of and includes scenes of masturbation (without visible genitalia), a scantily dressed prostitute, and loads of sexual innuendo. One character considers attempting suicide and holds a handgun to his head, and there's some other exaggerated comic physical violence, including hints of potential domestic violence. Relatively mild language.

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What's the story?

Los Angeles-set sitcom IN CASE OF EMERGENCY follows a group of old high school acquaintances as they reconnect during a dark period in their lives. Harry Kennison (an over-the-top Jonathan Silverman) is a depressed, divorced greeting card writer who reconnects with former high school valedictorian Kelly Lee (Kelly Hu) who's now working at a Korean massage parlor. Due to a series of outrageous events, Harry and Kelly also end up reunited with Jason Ventress (David Arquette, who's remarkably not over-the-top) and Sherman Yablonsky (Greg Germann), who are also both in the midst of dramatic personal and professional downslides. Through a mixture of pratfall humor and increasingly ridiculous scenarios, the four central characters try to turn their pathetic lives -- which are filled with rather dark demons (eating disorder, white collar crime, prostitution, sociopathic issues) -- back into the hope-filled ones they were when they graduated high school.

Is it any good?

Older teens might find the physical humor and the twisted comedy appealing, but parents will want younger kids to steer clear. The humor in In Case of Emergency is very male-oriented and includes a handful of potentially offensive elements involving women (hints of domestic violence, incidents of prostitution, general absence of women), while simultaneously painting men in a pretty clueless light.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how people change after high school. How have parents changed? What changes are they happy about? Not so happy about? Where do teens see themselves in 10 or 15 years? What could stand in the way of teens meeting their goals for the future? The media often presents unrealistic visions of high school life; do you think this version of post-high school life is any more accurate?

TV details

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