TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
Lunatics TV Poster Image
Mockumentary punches down too often to be truly funny.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Parodies the weird and outlandish behavior of a variety of society's misfits; the satire may fly over the head of younger viewers and is often mean-spirited.

Positive Role Models & Representations

With exception of sweet, guileless Becky, who is being touted as the "heart of the show" (even though her physical differences also mean she's frequently treated as a punchline), most of Lilley's characters are delusional, obnoxious, or just plain gross.


Some characters are bullied, though it's more verbal than physical in nature.


Frequent crude sexual references: 12-year-old Gavin is constantly talking about his penis and girls he wants to sleep with. One character is a past-her-prime porn star who treats her porch railings like a stripper pole. Shots of Lilley's head grafted onto nude women's bodies. Clothing shop owner Keith names his business "MY D!CK" and is in a sexual relationship with a cash register. Pet psychic Jana likes to get naked with her clients, is shown laying on a blanket in the nude (shot from behind). A character urinates into his own mouth as a gag for the internet.


Strong language is uncensored and used frequently. Audible words include "motherf----r," "s--t," "p---y," and "c--t," among other combinations.


Gavin talks a lot about Instagram, and drinks a 2-liter of Coke every night in bed. A character seeks YouTube stardom.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Very occasional drinking and smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lunatics is the latest comedy series from controversial yet popular Australian satirist Chris Lilley (Jonah from Tonga, Summer Heights High). Lilley is known for his edgy, improvisational style, and viewers can expect a ton of crude language and sexual references. He's also received criticism for his use of racial stereotypes (one of his past series was pulled from the air over his use of blackface). Some critics have raised eyebrows about the appearance of one of the characters in this series as well -- a South African pet psychic who sports deeply tanned skin and a giant Afro hairdo -- though the show's official stance is that she's white. There are bits of brief nudity, a great deal of profanity, and some bullying behavior in this edgy series. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymarcus dick May 11, 2019

Not as good as the others but Chris Lilley fans will like it

Full of swearing and sex, Chris Lilley new shows doesn’t quite do as well as his other but is still funny in the Chris Lilley way. This is a must see to Chris L... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bynobodylovesyou May 31, 2019

Explict content but not worthy of R

This show swears non stop and they use really explicit words time and time again in the show. The biggest reason why I think this show is inappropriate is the s... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byDixie Normous May 11, 2019

FUnny chris lilley humour

Funny and rude this show is halarious. =D

What's the story?

LUNATICS is a mockumentary-style comedy series created by Australian comedic actor Chris Lilley. Lilley plays six different characters on the show: Keith, a disturbed clothing shop owner who has sexual feelings for a cash register; Gavin, a gutter-mouthed 12-year-old whose greatest aspiration is online stardom; Jana, a South African pet psychic nursing a barely repressed crush on her assistant; Becky, a cheerful but lonely college student who happens to be over seven feet tall; Quentin, a bar-hopping real estate agent with a strangely oversized rear end; and Joyce, a washed-up porn star suffering from mental illness that manifests as hoarding and voices in her head.

Is it any good?

When Chris Lilley's new show debuted, social media exploded with angry jabs at its purported offensiveness and racially insensitive overtones -- and a nuanced take on society's misfits it ain't. Comedy can and should push the envelope, but far too often Lunatics veers past "edgy" and into "just cruel" in a way that's just lazy. People's disabilities and deformities are frequently made into punchlines, and there's a mind-numbing repetition to a lot of the toilet humor that makes the 40-minute episodes feel like an absolute slog.

There's also something just plain uncomfortable about seeing 44-year-old Lilley -- made up as 12-year-old wannabe player Gavin -- acting like an aggressive and relentless sex pest toward preteen girls. Outsized and outraged initial reactions aside, the most damning thing about Lunatics might just be how flat a lot of its humor falls, though Lilley superfans may feel differently.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how comedians use satire to make a point. What message do you think Lunatics is trying to send with the stories it tells? How does Lilley want viewers to feel about the people he portrays?

  • How do you feel about the controversy surrounding Lunatics and Lilley's sometimes questionable use of stereotypes? Do you find his characterizations funny or offensive?

TV details

  • Premiere date: April 19, 2019
  • Cast: Chris Lilley
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Comedy
  • TV rating: TV-MA
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: March 13, 2020

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