What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Newsreaders is a spinoff of Adult Swim series Children's Hospital, and shares its "no sacred cows" sensibility when it comes to mocking television news magazines and the stories they cover. There's a fair amount of adult material on the show, such as one segment that discusses the history of "f--k vans." Expect jokes about prostitutes, the trend of celebrities coming out, and many more controversial topics. You also get cursing (lots of bleeped "f--k" and "s--t"), mentions of drugs and alcohol, and women in their bras. All that said, Newsreaders is sporadically hysterical, particularly for viewers old and or sophisticated enough to get the jokes.
What's the story?
From the comedy minds that brought you medical-show spoof Children's Hospital comes NEWSREADERS, a mocking takeoff of the type of TV newsmagazines that report on water skiing squirrels and new diets with incredible self-seriousness. Mather Zickel is Louis LaFonda, host of Newsreaders, with a cast of field reporters that bring back the dirt on such (imaginary) American pop-culture phenomenon as "f--k vans" and teen golf training camps that double as Al Qaeda sleeper cells. Ray Wise is a disgruntled, Andy Rooney-esque commentator who rails against modern rubber-soled shoes and spouts such non-sequiturs as "Have you ever tried ecstasy? It's wonderful." Like most Adult Swim shows, each episode is 15 minutes long.
Is it any good?
There's much to mock in television newsmagazines that report with gravity on absolutely ridiculous people and things, and Newsreaders finds a lot of funny in both the deadpan reporting style and the topics reported on. The show is always funny enough to keep a smile on your face, and frequently laugh-out-loud amusing, though filthy enough that parents watching with teens may be occasionally discomfited, as when a "celebrity chef" affirms that "Mark my words, human sperm is the new bacon." Pause. "Human sperm."
One of the choicest pleasures of watching Newsreaders is watching a parade of wacky guest stars deliver -- Dan Rather talks about his new connection with the Dirty South hip hop scene, Kate Walsh sits in a chair and laughs her head off with LaFonda for no reason at all, Aaron Staton (Ken on Mad Men), almost unrecognizable in college-kid wear instead of slicked-back hair and a suit, as a horny dorm rat. Teens won't get who these people are and why mom and dad are laughing, but laugh mom and dad will.
Families can talk about...
Have you ever seen the type of show Newsreaders is mocking, such as Entertainment Tonight or 60 Minutes? How is Newsreaders like those shows? Do they have similar reporting styles? Choice of subjects? Graphics? How is Newsreaders unlike those shows?
Watch an episode of 60 Minutes together. After watching, discuss whether knowing the roots of Newsreader's satire makes the show funnier.
There are many shows on that mock the news, such as the Daily Show with Jon Stewart or the Colbert Report. Why is now a fertile time to make fun of the daily news and political views in our country? What does it say about the way we view television news, and reporting in general?