A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Positive messages aren't the focus of this comedy series whose characters often come across as superficial. The show mines everything from personality quirks to race for its laughs. Some homosexual stereotyping.
Positive Role Models
None stands out as a person worth emulating. Vanity, laziness, irresponsibility, and dishonesty are character traits that yield jokes.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexuality is a frequent topic of conversation and jokes, but physical contact is limited.
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"Bitch," "ass," and "hell," mostly. Some name-calling such as "idiot."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A recurring character is said to be a small-time drug dealer who provides his friends with pot. Some laughs about drug use and its effects on users' behavior.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mulaney is a sitcom that centers on a group of young adult friends, so jokes sometimes reference mature themes such as sexuality and race issues, always in a lighthearted way. Strong language is a bit of a concern ("bitch," "ass," and "hell" are common), and you'll see and hear some mild stereotyping of homosexuals and references to recreational drug use. No character stands out as remarkably positive, even if their friendships seem to suit one another's needs.
Is It Any Good?
First things first: If you think Mulaney's set-up sounds a little familiar, you're not wrong. It's a shameless copy job of one of TV's all-time great comedies in Seinfeld, from the titular character name to the four-person nucleus of characters whose mundane lives are mined for laughs. Here again is a sitcom about nothing, but whereas that classic misdirection clicked in all the right ways for Seinfeld, it misses the mark entirely in this laborious show that does little justice to the talents of its proven cast and the main star in particular.
The news isn't all bad, though. Martin Short's presence rescues several scenes as only the work of a comic genius can, and Mulaney's stand-up bits -- a far better venue for his skills than the canned dialogue quips -- are worthy of respect as well. There's a genuinely funny, if acerbic, nature to the characters' relationships as well (another Seinfeld marker, of course). But at the end of the day, the sitcom genre is a cutthroat environment, and it's tough to succeed on a recycled idea and a star who's out of his element in this kind of role.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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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