A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Teaches about various policy issues important to young people's lives and also about civic engagement.
Show emphasizes that regardless of your political beliefs, it's important to be engaged and involved.
Positive Role Models
The host, Kal Penn, is Indian-American, and features diverse guests across gender, race, age, and political background.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Body part jokes, innuendo, and brief mentions of future plans for sex.
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Language like "bulls--t," as well as bleeped out more-intense curse words (where it's easy to guess what's being bleeped.)
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief verbal mentions of marijuana.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kal Penn Approves This Message is a talk show that aims to interest teenagers in civic engagement by explaining issues in an upbeat, non-partisan way. Penn's jokes include moderate language like "bullsh--t," as well as bleeped out more-intense curse words (where it's easy to guess what's being bleeped.) There are jokes that feature a moderate amount of sexual innuendo, and some brief mentions of marijuana.
Is It Any Good?
As Penn himself references in the first episode, it's a little odd that a show aimed at young people is hosted by a 43-year-old. Penn's background of being both a comedian and a civil servant is perfect for a show like this in theory, but the conceit would have been more powerful if hosted by an actual young person. While overall enjoyable, the comedic bits will likely fall a bit flat for many teenagers. That said, he does a good job of explaining issues in a simple way that won't insult teens' intelligence.
Politically-savvy teens will likely not learn a ton of new stuff from Penn, but Kal Penn Approves This Message does have the potential to be a good introduction to teens just starting to tune into the issues. At a time when the country could not be more divided, it's refreshing that Penn's message is simply the importance of being informed and taking action, rather than trying to convince viewers to agree with his side of the issue.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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