Maron

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Maron TV Poster Image
Uncomfortable laughs on this painfully real, adult comedy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Definite messages of tolerance and acceptance, as flawed folks deal with each other kindly (sometimes). But there's also a cynical, depressed tone to the comedy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters onscreen are sometimes sloppy drunk, aggressive, venal and/or outright liars and cheaters. But Maron himself is sober and has a great love for animals; he is a loyal friend who is not perfect, but does have a moral compass and sympathy for other people. There are very few female main characters; women are mostly offscreen and often disparaged.

Violence

Discussion of an offscreen fist-fight; when one man professes to dislike fighting, another calls him a "p---y" many times.

Sex

Maron is single and lonely; he talks about wanting to date and have sex. There is also discussion of mutual masturbation between two young boys at camp, a father catching his son masturbating, and a company seeking to advertise on Maron's podcast that sells sex toys.

Language

Many unbleeped curses: "S--t! S--t! S--t!" Maron says reflexively, preparing to crawl under his house and remove a dead possum. Other characters call each other an "a--hole" or "p---y," but the ribbing is generally playful.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are shown drinking onscreen, then getting drunk and slurring words, lying on the floor, etc. Maron is sober and restrains a drunken friend from driving.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Maron is a cynical, realistic comedy in the vein of Louie. Many of the characters onscreen are fatally flawed: chemical abusers, mentally ill, misanthropic, and isolated. These flaws are very honestly examined and joked about in a way that older teens and adults may find amusing but younger ones will just find uncomfortable or unintelligible. Main character Marc Maron is sober after having been an addict but other characters onscreen drink until they're very drunk and their drunken antics are played for laughs. Characters have realistic conversations about potential hot-button issues like fist fights (and Maron is called a p---y by Denis Leary because he doesn't like to fight) and the ethics of Internet trolling. There are few women in the show and those who appear are often disparaged, particularly the actress who plays Maron's most recent ex-wife. There's a lot of un-bleeped cursing: "s--t" and "a--hole."

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What's the story?

On MARON, Marc Maron is Marc Maron. Just like in real life, the onscreen Maron has two ex-wives, a gossipy mother, and a manic-depressive dad who does stuff like suddenly showing up with a motorhome full of homemade fish oil pills. Maron's been trying to make his comedy career work for years. But the biggest success he's had is hosting the podcast WTF, in which he interviews comic personalities from his production room in his basement. WTF is going better all the time. The rest of Maron's life, not so much. He hosts famous comics like Denis Leary, Dave Foley, and Jeff Garlin for hysterical one-on-ones in between caring for his houseful of cats, pulling a dead possum out from under his house, driving to go get burritos, and other mundane tasks.

Is it any good?

It's difficult to describe to someone who hasn't seen Maron exactly what the show is about. It's a guy, and he does this podcast, see, and he has comedians on, and then in between he does, um, stuff. In the entertainment world, this is not what is known as "high concept." A movie or show that is high concept has a plot that can be described in a sentence. But life? It's not high concept. And so Maron, which spins comic gold out of such inanities as buying a bird feeder or rationalizing a dietary excess as a "cheat day," is realistic in its non-high-conceptness. It's just funnier than reality.

The type of viewer who likes the uncomfortable laughter sparked by shows like Louie or Curb Your Enthusiasm will enjoy Maron. It's the kind of funny that sometimes shouldn't be funny at all, or it's funny with an edge of pain, like the scenes with Maron and his destructive, defensive dad (Judd Hirsch, great to see you again!). Just as in life, some of the biggest laughs come from situations that are funny because they're absurd and awful. But they're not happening to you, so you can just enjoy watching.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about this style of show. How is Maron different than Louis C.K.'s show, Louie? Both are presenting lightly fictionalized versions of their real lives, both are comics, both worry both about their personal and professional lives. So how are they different?

  • Watch a sitcom from an earlier era, like the 1960s or 1970s. How are these sitcoms similar to the comedies you see today? How are they different? Do characters look different? Sound different?

  • Do any of the topics discussed on Maron make you uncomfortable? Do you think they're supposed to?

TV details

For kids who love comedy

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