One Mississippi

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
One Mississippi TV Poster Image
Well-done slice-of-life series explores life and death.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Realistic views of family and life's ups and downs are played for laughs but make a strong emotional impact. Major themes include compassion and empathy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tig is an honest and honorable character struggling during hard times. She treats those around her with respect and dignity, even if she mocks them (with love).

Violence

One show centers on Tig's mother's death. We watch her gasping for breath and slowly dying, then we see her body at length. No gore or blood; no visible injuries.

Sex

References to and jokes about sex and body parts. We see two women in bed cuddling before having a conversation about the mastectomy one of them had recently. 

Language

Curses often used for emphasis: "What the hell?" "Holy s--t!" Discussion of bodily functions: A character is sick and has "the runs," there are references to "tits" in the context of a medical procedure. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that One Mississippi is a biographical comic drama about one woman's decision to return to her hometown after her mother's death. Expect infrequent cursing ("hell", "s--t"), and jokes about body parts ("tits") and bodily functions ("the runs"); the show's main character has had a mastectomy that is referred to often and sometimes graphically (yet very realistically). One episode features the death of the main character's mother; we see the mother gasping for air and then dying; her dead body appears on-screen afterward and is the centerpiece of a gag. This illustrates what may be parents' strongest concern about this show: The topics are adult and downbeat, possibly too mature for many teens -- so know your kids.

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What's the story?

On ONE MISSISSIPPI as in life, Tig Notaro is a comic who's had breast cancer. But on this personal comic drama, she's also a character with challenges: Her mom has just died, and Tig decides to stay in her Mississippi hometown instead of returning to Los Angeles to resume her career and her so-so relationship with her girlfriend Brooke (Casey Wilson). Back in Mississippi, Tig's in the bosom of her (now reduced) family, with her brother Remy (Noah Harpster) and stepfather Bill (John Rothman) to alternately comfort and confound her as she tries to make a new life in a new place.

Is it any good?

Fans of the downbeat but effortlessly funny Notaro know what they're in for: smart, intermittently hilarious and well-written comedy that's occasionally a downer. That's what you get on One Mississippi, all right. The laughs are smart and frequent, but the show delves rather daringly into high-stakes drama right away: The first episode opens with Tig's mother's death and closes on her funeral. Sensitive viewers will be in floods of tears. The show is lightened at intervals with great deadpan jokes, often delivered at the expense of Tig's taciturn stepdad. 

"How's Mom?" asks Tig, newly arrived at her hometown to see her dying mother. "She's on life support. And we're going to take her off life support," says Bill from the back seat. "Thanks, Bill," Tig deadpans. "And hello." A few minutes later, after Tig's mother has been disconnected from her respirator (mercifully, behind a curtain, though we're treated to the sight of the whole family sitting around staring at her as she slowly dies), Tig has an absurd vision. She's wheeling her mother out of the hospital, dead, on a gurney, as the hospital's staff gather around to wave her on to what's next: "Good-bye!" "Good luck!" That's some pretty strange territory for a show we hesitate to classify as a sitcom, but it's moving. This is good stuff, but it's not for everyone. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different types of humor. Is death funny? Is it funny when it's the subject of jokes on One MississippiWhy do different people find different things funny? Teens: What do you find hilarious that your parents just don't get? Why?

  • Do any of the topics discussed on One Mississippi make you uncomfortable? Do you think they're supposed to?

  • How do the characters in One Mississippi demonstrate compassion and empathy? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

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