A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this British sitcom includes frequent references to sexual topics like intercourse and casual sex and makes light of a love triangle in which best friends vie for a woman's affections. Lee is little more than an unmotivated freeloader who has no qualms about taking advantage of Kate for rent and meals while he half-heartedly seeks employment, and Tim is attempting to regain her trust after cheating on her with a young woman. On a positive note, the guys' character issues make Kate -- the lone female -- seem like the responsible, well intentioned one and put her in the position of power. The lack of positive messages is a bigger strike against the show than the content itself, but adults who can look past the former will enjoy the cast's superb comical delivery.
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What's the story?
British sitcom NOT GOING OUT stars celebrated UK comedians Lee Mack and Tim Vine as best friends -- also named Lee and Tim -- engaged in a civil rivalry over Tim's ex-girlfriend, Kate (Megan Dodds), whose affections Tim is trying to reclaim after leaving her for a much younger woman. The triangle is complicated by the fact that Kate has invited Lee to share her flat while he irons out his chronic unemployment and general lack of ambition; their close proximity soon brings their own relationship uncertainties to the surface. There's no end to the laughs as the three explore their feelings for each other -- and tackle their own personal issues.
Is it any good?
You really can't go wrong when you bring together exceptional comedians and set them loose on each other, as is the case with this laugh-out-loud series. The rapid-fire wisecracks between Mack and Vine (who claimed the Guinness World Record for Telling the Most Jokes in an Hour with a whopping 499) are sure to tickle funny bones -- especially for adults who can relate to some of the characters' woeful reflections on relationships and life in general. And Dodds can more than hold her own with her male cohorts, though viewers looking for full-blooded British comedy may find her American accent distracting.
The series has its share of references to intercourse, casual sex, and homosexuality, but they usually come and go as quickly as the jokes do. Parents may take issue with the messages sent by the nature of Lee and Kate's roommate status and his willingness to live off of her generosity toward him while he's unemployed -- although the other side of the coin is that Kate emerges as the mature, responsible adult character in comparison to the two men. But even though there's not that much obviously iffy content to speak of here, the show isn't age-appropriate for tweens or very young teens given the mixed messages about relationships and a responsible lifestyle. All said, it's best viewed as a comical escape for adults.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how real-life situations compare to those on television. Which of the characters' issues can you relate to? How realistic do their responses seem? If you were in their situation, how would you react? What messages do sitcoms like this one send about dating and relationships? How do those messages reflect society's views on the same topics? Do you find your experiences are similar or different from those on television? How so?
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