A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The content of the stories walks a fine line between biting satire and tastelessness -- a young white woman in a murder trial is to be tried as a "large black man," for example. The messages are usually critical and mocking of society, government, and culture.
Positive Role Models
The anchors are all questionable figures from a moral and professional standpoint, played for laughs.
Violence & Scariness
No real onscreen violence, although some of the comedy stories do focus on violent acts, such as murder and assault.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Stories occasionally utilize sexual language which is sometimes the punch line of the joke, for example, a story celebrating the inventor of an explicit sexual act.
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Only the strongest words such as "f--k" are bleeped; words such as "a--hole," "handjob," and "s--t" are aired without bleeps.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
While there is little onscreen consumption depicted, alcohol and drugs are occasionally used as part of a joke or as a punch line.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this biting satire of cable news networks often veers close to tasteless humor in its pursuit of the sharpest possible comedy. If a viewer does not understand the level and intent of the satire, it would be easy to assume the show is crass and exploitative. Only the strongest swear words ("f--k") are bleeped and while there is no nudity, there is open and explicit discussion of sexual situations.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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