A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
MacGruber is a satire of machismo in action movies, so even the rare, brief positive messages (about loyalty, forgiveness, healing from trauma, etc.) are played ironically.
Positive Role Models
Characters in MacGruber are played as recognizable action movie types that are basically there to get roasted for comedy effect.
MacGruber's core cast presents as straight/white, and the women in lead and supporting roles play stereotypical wife/lover types. There's also a stunning amount of homophobia, mostly from sex acts that MacGruber describes that the audience is supposed to find gross or funny -- stuff that probably felt dated even when the movie came out more than a decade ago. There's probably an argument to be made that the homophobia is over the top as part of satirizing the hyper-masculinity of a lot of action movies, but in contemporary culture it feels tasteless.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence is over-the-top and played for comedy, but with gore. bodies, wounds, etc. nonetheless. Guns, bombs, and various military weapons are used frequently, and MacGruber uses something called a throat-ripper which allows him to kill people by ripping off the front of their necks.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual content in MacGruber is over-the-top and played for comedy, including male backside nudity, simulated sex, and frequent descriptions of and dialogue about various sex acts.
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Profanity is used constantly: the "f" word, "c--t," "d--k," "s--t", "ass," etc.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are occasionally seen drinking alcohol, but drinking, drugs and smoking are not heavily featured.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that MacGruber is an action comedy satire about a renegade military assassin. The series is a sequel to the 2010 film, which was based on a recurring Saturday Night Live sketch, and brings back the movie's core cast of Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, and Ryan Phillipe. MacGruber started as a parody of the 80s series MacGyver (about an operative who pieced together weapons from everyday objects), but the film and series are more commentaries on the hyper-masculinity of a certain type of action film. Unfortunately, the MacGruber brand falls into a lot of the same traps as those films, including a really disappointing strain of homophobic jokes throughout the series. Violence and sexual content are both played over-the-top for laughs. Action sequences involve guns, bombs, martial arts, and any number of military weapons, and show blood and gore -- especially when MacGruber uses a something he calls a "throat ripper." Sexual content includes simulated sex, male backside nudity, and many, many descriptions of sex acts. Like in the movie, there are long stretches of bits that don't work, punctuated by some legitimately funny moments.
Is It Any Good?
It's hard to get excited for a sequel to a film that wasn't very good to begin with, especially when the sequel is three times as long. Any widespread fondness for MacGruber probably comes from the likeability of lead actor and SNL alum Will Forte, rather than from the relentless shock value. MacGruber the series feels like a bunch of outtakes. There are times when the direction isn't strong enough to tell the story clearly and the actors can't even make the jokes work as written. In a lot of ways, the series is asking its audience to be more committed to the bit than Forte himself.
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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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