Notes from the Underbelly

(i)

 

Parenting anxieties played for laughs; just OK.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main couple are generally good people with normal anxieties and some minor flaws. Their friends are "types" written for comic relief -- like the cynical divorce attorney who sleeps around and the stay-at-home mom who spends her days lazing at the beach. Some mild gay jokes.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Several sexual scenes, though nothing explicit is shown. Jokes about oral sex and premature ejaculation. One character has frequent casual sex, sometimes with married men. A male friend is always looking for dates/sex.

Language

"Ass," "hell," "whore," etc.

Consumerism

Some product placement -- Mini Cooper, Nordstroms, Lost. The characters are fairly materialistic.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this comedy about new and impending parenthood isn't intended for kids. Topics include adult-oriented issues like parental identity and responsibility, as well as sexual fulfillment in a relationship, birth control, childbirth, and breastfeeding. While no actual sex is shown, there are references to things like oral sex and premature ejaculation. Many jokes are heavy with sexual innuendo, and there's frank talk about what pregnancy and breastfeeding does to a woman's body. Jokes are made at the expense of traditional mothers, while the main couple wrestles with -- and seems likely to succumb to -- traditional ideals.

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What's the story?

NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY takes a comedic look at the challenges and surprises of pregnancy and childrearing. Narrated by the sarcastic and pleasantly charming Andrew (Peter Cambor) -- who's looking forward to being a daddy but is nervous about his increased responsibility -- the show focuses not only on the personal experiences of Andrew and his wife Lauren (Jennifer Westfeldt), but also on their relationships with those around them. Lauren is caught between two good friends as she navigates the path toward parenthood. Julie (Melanie Paxson), has embraced the mommy life whole hog, while Cooper (Rachael Harris) is a cynical divorce attorney who fights to keep her friend from joining the mommy cult.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Full of rapid-fire quips and the occasional pratfall, this Los Angeles-set show taps into the worries and joys of new parenthood -- from losing your identity to providing for your family to choosing the right baby supplies -- with moderate success.

Notes from the Underbelly has an obvious demographic, and it's not kids or teens, but parents -- mostly new parents, or couples thinking about becoming parents. And for this specific group, the show hits a few bull's-eyes. But, for the most part, the characters are sometimes annoying and feel more like caricatures than real people.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how parenthood is portrayed in the media. Are TV and movie moms and dads realistic? Does the media make parenthood seem good or bad? Teens: Where do you want to be in your life when (or if) you become parents? What's the most important part of being a parent, as you see it? Parents: What was your experience like when you first found out you were going to have kids? Did you end up being the kind of parents you imagined yourselves to be? What do you wish you could have done differently?

TV details

Cast:Jennifer Westfeldt, Peter Cambor, Rachael Harris
Network:ABC
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

This review of Notes from the Underbelly was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of an infant, 3, and 11 year old Written bygrahamandheather April 9, 2008

Very funny, but very adult

This show is light and hilarious. It is great for adults, but totally inappropriate for children.
Teen, 13 years old Written byEmilyLovesGreys April 9, 2008

Love at first sight!

I saw a lot of previews for this show, and I can't say I was thrilled about it. I only watched it after seeing all the good reviews in the newspapers and magazines. They show the most inapproporiate parts in the promos/trailers for it, which isn't very bright on their part. But I think the show has a good influence on kids 13+, ex. thinking of pros and cons before getting pregnant. There are a few sexual comments, but it's not explicit at all. They don't show any sex scenes. I think it's good for anyone 13+. It's very funny and enjoyable.
Adult Written bymisledvampire April 9, 2008

Good Show!

Funny!! Takes on a very comedic look at being and parent.

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