Less Than Perfect

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Less Than Perfect TV Poster Image
Less than perfect for kids, but OK for teens.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Central characters run the gamut in terms of race, sex, and temperament. And while office villains repeatedly fudge their morality to get ahead, their characters rarely "win."


All "violence" is done in the name of comedy. For example, one character hits another in the head with a lunch tray to gain access to softserve ice cream.


Several one-liners carry a degree of sexual innuendo. One character owns a pair of boxer shorts that clearly depict the rear view of Michelangelo's "David." Another has slept her way to the top of the newsroom power structure, going so far as to marry an anchorman. One episode shows characters having a post-coital conversation.


Minor swear words are peppered throughout, including "hell," "damn," "crap," and "jackass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional alcohol consumption. In one episode, the heroine does a tequila shot to deal with stress. Another character sips – then guzzles – champagne in the control room during a newscast.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, while the material in this unremarkable-but-OK comedy occasionally hints at sexual themes, characters keep it clean for the most part. They do use low-level curse words like "damn," "hell" and "jackass." Good-hearted heroine Claude provides a positive example of a young woman who is able to advance in the workplace by using her smarts, not her sex appeal.

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What's the story?

When she's hand-picked from a pool of fourth-floor office temps to serve as the personal assistant to a GNB news anchor on the 22nd floor, Claudia "Claude" Casey (Sara Rue) is convinced that her professional life is finally on track. But staying above the backstabbing ambitions of her co-workers -- including the conniving Lydia Weston (Andrea Parker) and the smarmy Kipp Steadman (Zachary Levi) -- proves more challenging than the job itself. That's why it's so convenient that a supportive stable of old friends (including the feisty Ramona Platt, the neurotic Andy Dick, and the well-meaning Will Sasso) is only an elevator ride away.

Is it any good?

Applying the familiar sitcom structure to the glamorous world of TV news works reasonably well for this on-again, off-again ABC show, which has had its share of scheduling changes and hiatuses. Jokes are funny but not hilarious, and most of the humor is anything but groundbreaking. The supporting characters, especially, also lack a certain "oomph." Despite its shortcomings, however, Less Than Perfect is an enjoyable way to spend 30 minutes if you've got the time to spare.

The show's strengths lie in its overarching theme of the "little guy" making good (of course, in this case, the "guy" is a hard-working young woman) and its portrayal of success as something that often comes at a cost. In the show's early seasons, the healthy-looking Rue also managed to serve as a positive role model for women, proving that actresses don't have to be a size 2 -- or play extra weight up for comic effect -- to sustain a career in Hollywood. Despite media hoopla about her size, however, Rue slimmed down dramatically later on, sending a subtle message that thin was still very much in.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it's really like to work with other people, especially in a business setting, and the often-unpleasant realities of office politics. What are some effective strategies for dealing with difficult people at work -- or at school? How can you work toward your goals without sacrificing personal integrity? Do men and women face the same kinds of challenges in the workplace? What are the pitfalls of engaging in a romantic relationship with someone you work with? Does financial success always bring happiness?

TV details

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