Parents' Guide to

Onion News Network

By Matt Springer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Savage satire of cable network news with mature content.

TV IFC Comedy 2011
Onion News Network Poster Image

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Great satire is that which can offend just as easily as it amuses. It's a form of comedy that requries a sharp edge, one that has the potential to wound. In print, The Onion has perfected the delicate task of creating satire that amuses more than it offends, and now that strategy is on display on Onion News Network (ONN), a savage parody of cable network news and a satire of our culture's ongoing infatuation with sensationalism and empty rhetoric.

Like The Onion's newspaper and website, the stories on ONN range from the silly to the savage. A running gag about a fake psychedelic band in which Vice-President Joe Biden was the lead singer shares screen time with a brilliant series of stories on an ONN reporter who has been captured in Afghanistan with no hair and makeup people. It's all played so straight that it's frequently more amusing than funny -- in other words, there may not be many belly laughs, but it's impossible to deny the quality of the comedy. It also may be hardest to laugh when comedy hits this close to our society's basest TV-viewing desires.

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