A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Though the show circles around ticklish topics like violent death, none of the content is meant to be malicious, and everyone gets a good laugh from it.
Positive Role Models
Seattle, Jenkins-Seattle, and other officers are on the side of law and order and interested in ferreting out criminals, but all the silliness keeps them from being solid role models; it's clear this show isn't meant to be taken seriously.
Actors of color have strong roles, such as Haneefah Wood as Detective Seattle's ex-wife, Chief Rhonda Jenkins-Seattle, who's pretty tired of her ex's nonsense and frequently calls him on it. Guest stars, too, are frequently people of color. There's some toxic masculinity, for the sake of humor, like when Detective Seattle says that "city homicide isn't for precious little man boys." That attitude is clearly being sent up and mocked. In another scene, a magician tries to tell a joke about "Jews" and Seattle and his guest star shut it down quickly.
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Violence & Scariness
The show is set in a police precinct and its main character is a homicide detective, so you can expect many joking references to violence, like one in which we hear described what happened when a magician accidentally saws his assistant in half ("sawed through ligament and bone..."). We see blood in pools and bloody sheets. In one scene, a character references a late character's pet rabbit and we see an animal skeleton in a cage, implying that the animal died of neglect.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of sex jokes employed here. There are also slang words for body parts: "boobs," "titty."
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Cursing and language includes "motherf--ker," "s--t," "ass," "hell," replacements for curse words like "mofo." Many jokes are somewhat vulgar, but in a silly way: "It was time for Conan to take off his training diaper and start pooping his pants like a big boy." There are also slang words for body parts: "boobs," "titty."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Murderville is a comedy series about a homicide detective (Will Arnett, Arrested Development) who solves murders while improvising police procedural-style scenes. The tone of the comedy largely depends on each episode's guest; it's all good-natured and good-intentioned, but can circle around topics like gruesome violence (as when one guest star graphically and at length describes how a magician's assistant was sawed in half) or can contain cursing or vulgar language (expect to hear "motherf--ker," "s--t," "ass," "hell," as well as words for body parts like "boobs"). Humor is also of the "punch up" variety; cliches common in police shows, like excessive violence and unemotional detectives are sent up, and no characters are marginalized. People of color have strong central roles, especially a Black female homicide chief who grapples with Arnett's character and often comes out ahead. Guest stars are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, age, and body type. Murder is more often talked about than seen, but you do see the aftermath of crimes, like pools of blood, in some scenes.
Is It Any Good?
Laced with surprising guest stars and improv that runs the gamut from awkward to genius, your view on the show is likely to dovetail with how comfy you are with uncomfortable moments. For some, the comedy is pure cringe due to the way the comedy sings or sags according to the guest star. The first episode, with old pro Conan O'Brien, is absolutely hysterical all the way through; the next, which taps Seattle Seahawks' former running back Marshawn Lynch, is more uneven. No surprise; O'Brien is an improviser from way back, while Lynch is known more for rushing on the gridiron. Still, casting Lynch is a weird stroke of genius (or folly?), and he does have his moments; when Arnett's Seattle asks him how much training he's had as a homicide detective, Lynch's eyes light up as he replies "I watched Training Day." Less successful: Lynch's chosen detective name is "Bagabitch."
Still, Murderville's choice to lead each guest star through comedy-stumping physical challenges is reliably funny (watching Conan O'Brien try to question a suspect while eating a hot-sauce drenched sandwich is a highlight), as are sequences in which guests stars are given an earpiece and told to repeat whatever Seattle tells them (O'Brien introduces himself to a mom's group as "Todd Caringtonbergsonfield"). The show also has a puzzle aspect to it: viewers are given enough clues to figure out the murder on each episode; can you put them together and solve the crime before the final reveal? All in all, Murderville is extremely silly, occasionally wince-inducing, and at times comically inspired. Arnett fans in particular will enjoy it as he's in every scene, and those with a predilection for offbeat comedy will, too.
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