Look Around You

Common Sense Media says

Low-tech science spoof could confuse younger viewers.

Age

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Conclusions derived via the show's pseudo-scientific "experiments" are meant to be funny, but kids could miscontrue their facts, resulting in a murky message overall. For example, water is said to boil at 1,000 degrees (the actual boiling point is 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit), and someone is shown eating ectoplasm (the physical existence of which has never been proven). In another experiment, scientists take a sample from an overflowing sewer and drop it onto a human subject's tongue to test the spread of germs. You get the picture.

Violence

A few experiments (plunging your hand into boiling water, removing an egg, and slicing it open with a scalpel, for example) would be dangerous if younger viewers tried to replicate them.

Sex

Although the general tone is straightlaced, there's occasional innuendo. For instance, the narrator explains that "kissing a tramp" is one way to get germs. In another instance, an older man removes his pants and underwear to have his temperature taken rectally -- although no sensitive body parts are shown.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Usage is infrequent, but it happens. One experiment involving water produces whisky, and the narrator says, "Whisky is a pleasant-tasting, thirst-quenching drink, and it's enjoyed by all." Later, an adult scientist pours a glass from the beaker, drinks it, and promptly falls over.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this British send-up of educational programming from the 1970s and '80s is loaded with ridiculously distorted science "facts" and flat-out untruths that are meant to amuse adults, which makes it an iffy choice for kids who are still working on mastering basic scientific principles. While not too much of the content is inherently inappropriate for older teens (aside from a bit of sexual inuendo and a few humorous references to alcohol), they could get a few answers wrong on their next exam if they don't do their own homework. There are also some British pop culture references that kids -- and American adults -- might not get.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

A deadpan narrator presents themed lessons on a variety of topics -- including "Maths," "Water," "Germs," and "Ghosts" -- in this series of 10-minute comic shorts that spoof educational programming from the 1970s and '80s. But the joke is that you won't actually learn anything, except how to laugh at how far technology has come. Created by Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz, LOOK AROUND YOU originally aired on the BBC in 2002, with a second series airing three years later. Episodes feature well-known British comedians, including Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and spoof classic British pop-science shows like How and Tomorrow's World.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Kids probably won't get the joke here -- and maybe that's a good thing. After all, do you really want your tween or young teen concluding that "Germs originated in Germany before rapidly spreading throughout the rest of the world"? But for older teens and adults who have plenty of schooling, Look Around You is a satisfying romp into nutty, nostalgic territory. Anyone who enjoys a good spoof is bound to enjoy the show's reliance on bad lighting, bad hair, clunky computers, and dated pop culture references, but fans of Monty Python's Flying Circus -- and of British humor (or should we say "humour"?) in general -- will find it particularly funny.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the art of using fictious "facts" for comedic effect -- and the importance of knowing that this show is just a parody. What "facts" were presented that you know to be 100% wrong -- and what are the actual answers? When it comes to science, were any of the program's statements true -- and if so, can you be 100% sure? What elements make it clear that this show is meant to be funny instead of serious? (Think about everything -- from the narration to the art direction.) Teens: How does this program compare to the genuine educational programs you watch in school?

TV details

This review of Look Around You was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byAnnoyedteenguy July 5, 2010
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

fun british comedy makes people feel smart, because characters dont appear that way

People, this show is confusing for laughs. Im old enough to ignore the facts they give while still enjoying it. There is not really anything wrong.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Teen, 13 years old Written byParanoid Park Sk8ter March 27, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Wow, great funny show for the whole family!

This may be AdultSwim's best TV show yet. The first time I saw it I could hardly breathe because I was laughing so hard! Anyways, this show does have some rather inappropriate content. In one eppisode,a guy sticks his hand into boiling water, which leaves a bad message for younger kids. Good show for anyone 11+

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