La La Land TV Poster Image

La La Land

(i)

 

British comic's kooky characters aren't kid-friendly.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most of the characters have no concept of their bad behavior and continually push the envelope to see what they can get away with -- from lying and stealing to attempted murder and sexual harrassment, all for the sake of comedy. There are consequences, however, when the police are called in to diffuse potentially dangerous situations.

Positive role models

The characters aren't meant to be positive role models by any means: One narrowly escapes arrest for fraud, drugging, and sexual harrassment, while another uses dishonest (and dangerous) tactics to coerce his documentary subjects into doing his bidding, etc.

Violence

Not a major focus, but in one scene, for example, a character runs over a condor and puts the dead animal on top of his vehicle, only to have blood pour down the windshield a few seconds later. There's also some punching/kicking played up for comedic effect.

Sex

Lots of sexually charged talk, including the use of expressions like "Let's go to a strip club and get wasted, fiddle with a lady's t-ts." Characters also use terms like "giving head," "p---y," and "wet dream," etc.

Language

The swearing isn't constant but it includes uncensored use of "f--k," "s--t," "dick," "douche bag," and the like. A character might say, "What the f--k did you do this last f--king hour that was so f--king psychic?" or "These two guys are gonna take your f--king money and f--k you in the ass." Lots of sexual language too, like "p---y" and "t-ts."

Consumerism

Establishing shots sometimes feature the names of Los Angeles restaurants, bars, and clubs, like Caliente or Theatre West. A few visible labels, too, like Heineken.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking in social settings. One character tries to smoke a joint in a moving vehicle and is later shown snorting cocaine.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this character-driven cable comedy series is for mature audiences due to the generous dose of uncensored swearing (including "f--k" and "s--t") and sexual language (including expressions like "hard-on," "boner," "t-ts," "p---y," and "giving head"). There's also some violence played for comic effect, some of which involves blood. Drinking is restricted to social situations, although one character is shown trying to light up a joint and, later, snorting cocaine.

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What's the story?

British comedian Marc Wootton brings his penchant for split personalities to Los Angeles in LA LA LAND, a "pseudo-reality series" that finds Wootton playing three different people -- struggling actor Gary Garner, documentary filmmaker Brendan Allen, and celebrity psychic Shirley Ghostman -- and interacting with real Angelenos who have no idea that he's having fun at their expense. The series is partly adapted from Wootton's successful British series High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Wootton's La La Land characters don't smack you in the face with hilarity -- at first. But if you give them a chance, they start to grow on you, particularly the French-manicured Shirley Ghostman, who's hands-down the funniest of the three. In fact, Shirley deserves his own show (yes, his -- he's a gent), which would explain why Wootton's BBC show devoted entirely to Shirley's celebrity spirit-channeling was such a hit across the pond.

It's worth giving this one a shot, especially if you love British humor and watching unsuspecting Americans get caught in awkward moments. But Wootton's comedy is probably best appreciated by adults who can handle the ghost of Martin Luther King Jr. uttering, "I had a dream ... a wet dream," and know that it straddles a fine, fine line.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the differences between British and American humor. Would this series have been noticably different if it had been developed for British audiences? If yes, how so? Do you think the average American will find it funny?

  • How does the series play up stereotypes for comedic effect? Are there any that you find offensive?

TV details

Premiere date:January 25, 2010
Cast:Marc Wootton
Network:Showtime
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-MA

This review of La La Land was written by

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