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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet is a comedy set at a gaming company that made one of the most popular multiplayer computer games of all time. It's created by the team of writers behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but the tone of Mythic Quest is much lighter and more sincere. Humor can be on the rude side, with an extended joke about gamers' propensity for drawing penis shapes within games, and a 14-year-old YouTuber who rates games with "b-holes" (they look like red asterisks). There's also language: "f--k," "bulls--t," "s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," and "d--k." The cast shows extensive diversity in terms of sexual identity, race, ethnicity, body type, and age. Two characters have a same-sex attraction, while others have opposite-sex interests; expect kissing, dating, flirting, and references to sex. A main character has a drinking problem. The Apple TV remote appears significantly on-screen. The group of co-workers also show integrity and teamwork, pulling together to make the best game they can in service of their fans.
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What's the story?
Created by the team of writers behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia -- Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Megan Ganz -- MYTHIC QUEST: RAVEN'S BANQUET revolves around the game company that launched the most popular multiplayer game of all time, Mythic Quest. But that was then and this is now, when a new version, "Raven's Banquet" is about to be released. Egotistical creative director Ian (McElhenney), beleaguered chief engineer Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao), and feckless project manager David (David Hornsby) battle over the game's direction, with the help/distraction of C.W. Longbottom (F. Murray Abraham), the sozzled head writer; David's eccentric assistant Jo (Jesse Ennis); head of monetization Brad (Danny Pudi); and ambitious game testers Rachel (Ashly Burch) and Dana (Imani Hakim). Funny thing: Though the clashes never end in the game, the real battles are fought in the office.
Is it any good?
Set in a world that's filled with absurdity even in real life, and stocked with lovable actors playing appealingly quirky characters, this series is destined to be the next great workplace comedy. Fans of Always Sunny already know, of course, that its writers know how to craft ridiculous situations stuffed with hilarious jokes; what elevates Mythic Quest above Always Sunny is the strong thread of sincerity running through the show. Always Sunny resolutely refused to indulge in moments where characters learned lessons or hugged, a great choice for a dark comedy, but one which often kept the characters from connecting with each other. Mythic Quest, in contrast, often pauses the flow of knowing jokes for moments that feel real.
Poppy, for example, is permanently exasperated with Ian as well as with the industry she works in, where talented women are overlooked and overworked while some guy gets the credit. Ian is a blowhard and a smug tool, but we get backstory that explains how he got that way. And the romantic tension between Dana and Rachel is a reliable source of laughs, but the show takes both characters and their attraction seriously. But it's the fifth episode that really signals Mythic Quest is up to something different than jokes about a bunch of funny sociopaths as we travel back in time to the 1990s when a hopeful young couple struggles to launch their own game. Pausing antics in order to tell a dramatic and wistful short story? It's an odd choice, and a wonderful one. The American version of The Office was criticized when it came out for leavening its comedy with romantic complications and human drama -- but we all know how that came out in the end. Mythic Quest has the potential to be another Office; let's all hope it gets there.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about workplace comedies. How many can you name? What types of workplaces are the most common? What shows can you name that are set in restaurants, schools, stores, offices, or other settings in which characters are mostly co-workers? What's the advantage of such settings that bring together disparate groups of people?
Do you think the series paints an accurate picture of office behavior in an often unconventional industry? Has corporate culture been exaggerated for the sake of comedy?
How do Mythic Quest's characters show integrity and teamwork? What qualities does each have that make them keep striving at work and in their personal lives? Why are these important character strengths?
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