Jon Benjamin Has a Van

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Jon Benjamin Has a Van TV Poster Image
Fake news is edgy and experimental but effectively funny.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show doesn't take sides when it comes to topical stories, and just about anything's fair game for parody. There's some light stereotyping for the sake of comedy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the time, Benjamin is a passive participant in the stories and situations he finds himself "covering." As a role model, he's relatively neutral.

Violence

Some comedic violence, including pushing and gun battles with some blood, etc.

Sex

Sexual humor and innuendo, with occasional blurred nudity. The back of Benjamin's van is painted to look like bare buttocks.

Language

Bleeped swearing (mostly "f--k" and "s--t") plus audible words like "goddamn," "a--hole," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking, jokes about drugs, characters who smoke, etc.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this show's edgy (and at times experimental) humor includes jokes about war and other topical subjects, along with sexual innuendo (from bare buttocks painted on a van to absurdly simulated sex) and comedic violence (gun fights, pushing, etc.). There's also some bleeped swearing (mostly "f--k") and social drinking/smoking.

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What's the story?

Voiceover actor H. Jon Benjamin (Archer, Bob's Burgers) steps out of his vehicle and in front of the camera for JON BENJAMIN HAS A VAN, a sketch comedy series composed of fake news vignettes, roving reporter segments, and awkwardly conducted interviews. Segments include "Cash Stall," an impromptu quiz show that takes place in a public toilet, and "You Can't Shoot Here," a series of bits filmed inside businesses that (you guessed it) don't allow filming on the premises.

Is it any good?

Although he's often credited as H. Jon Benjamin (the "H" is for "Henry"), Benjamin drops his first initial for this chuckle-worthy Comedy Central sketch show that he created with help from co-writer Andrew Steele. And while most people probably aren't familiar with Benjamin's work -- not to mention his face -- many will appreciate his odd kinship to break-out star Zach Galifianakis with an awkward camera schtick that, at times, feels like he's channeling Galifianakis' popular "Between Two Ferns" spots on FunnyorDie.

Not every sketch is a winner, of course, and some play much better than others, but the show's opening on-camera interview with a whispering Army recruit who sustained a serious "voice injury" while screaming out of fear at basic training camp is a definite high point. As is a segment featuring a special musical performance by a preeminent jazz air guitarist whose earnest technique is pretty priceless.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of watching fake news and why some people prefer it to the real thing. Parents can also explain the concept of parody.

  • Does this show have a message, or is it all in the name of fun? How does it compare to shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report?

TV details

For kids who love comedy

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