A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that teens will probably be drawn to this adult-oriented sketch comedy show thanks to star Nick Cannon. But it has lots of sexual references and plenty of profanity. Sketches frequently involve scantily dressed women in sexualized roles (groupies, promiscuous women, mute escorts, etc.); one skit revolves around a man suing a woman for refusing to put out. Some bits involve violence (a man holding up a diner and threatening to kill the patrons with guns, for example) though it's clearly meant to be funny. Racial stereotypes -- the criminal black man, the hoodlum rapper, the hoochie mama, the prissy white woman, and more -- run rampant, but they're also played for comic effect.
What's the story?
Comedian Nick Cannon takes a shot at a Dave Chappelle-style comedy show in NICK CANNON PRESENTS: SHORT CIRCUITZ. Made up of a collection of brief comic sketches, the series features a primarily African-American cast and both pokes fun at and embraces racial stereotypes. For example, one skit features a People's Court-type judge named Judge "Mo" Dollars, who's decked out in heavy gold chains and a gold grill and struts like a proud pimp. In his court, a man sues a woman for refusing to put out after he paid for an expensive dinner. Another sketch pokes fun at rappers whose songs consist of little more than irrelevant nonsense set to a beat. The camera follows a Ludacris impersonator as he films a video for a completely freestyle song that ends up so mundane that it becomes hilarious: "I'm making a phone call! I'm hailing a cab! Hey, there's a cab!"
Is it any good?
The cast of Short Circuitz is talented, but the skits don't have the same edgy social criticism of Chappelle's work, which makes for a less-satisfying result. But mature viewers who can understand the value of poking fun at a group without buying into stereotypes might enjoy Cannon's raunchy humor -- and get a few laughs in the bargain.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about racial stereotypes and humor. How does seeing stereotypes in TV shows and movies affect viewers? Are the effects different depending on whether you're watching a drama or a comedy? Why or why not? What are the negative effects of stereotypes? Are there any positive effects? Do you find it difficult to discuss race and racial stereotypes? Why or why not?