Onion SportsDome

TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
Onion SportsDome TV Poster Image
Witty, satirical take on sports news can get crass.

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A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this tv show.

Positive messages

The show skewers sports television's format, characters, and tone, creating a humorous satire. In the process, it pushes a lot of iffy boundaries.

Positive role models & representations

The lead characters are mock anchors for a sports news show and are frequently positioned as inept, self-centered, and morally questionable figures, all for comedic effect.

Violence

Sports-related violence is often exaggerated to bloody effect for humorous purposes.

Sex

Jokes occasionally use innuendo and slightly explicit sexual references -- not just verbally, but visually as well (for example, a parody musical number that features simulated intercourse between provocatively dressed male and female dancers).

Language

The show intentionally walks a fine line between strong bleeped language ("f--k") and as much "gateway" language as can be allowed on basic cable ("ass," "hell," etc.).

Consumerism

Various segments on the show have "sponsors," although it's unclear whether they're included for humor value or because they actually paid to participate (for example, Smith & Wesson sponsoring a "Who Would You Kill" segment).

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Performance-enhancing drugs and illegal narcotics are used frequently as the punchline or premise of jokes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this irreverent, satirical comedy series relies upon edgy sports-related humor for its laughs. Jokes frequently skirt the edges of good taste, profanity, explicit sexual content, and other taboo areas. Expect some bleeped swearing ("f--k"), as well as plenty of audible language, like "ass" and "crap." While the writing can be clever, the show's content and tone are appropriate only for older teens and adults.

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What's the story?

From the same twisted comic minds that bring The Onion to the Web and the newsstand each week comes a parody of ESPN's SportsCenter. Like The Daily Show, SPORTSDOME covers both the latest news and occasionally makes up its own stories to boot. From the graphics to the anchors, every moment is designed to puncture the attitude of professional sports and the way they're covered by the mainstream media.

Is it any good?

The idea of a series that parodies the too-cool-for-school sports celebrity worship of ESPN is long overdue, and Onion SportsDome aims in that direction. The stories themselves actually aren't the real attraction; they're hit or miss, in fact, relying too often on broader comedy for casual sports fans rather than aiming straight for the jugular of the sports world. Instead, it's as a parody of the venerable sports-centric TV network that SportsDome really soars. Anchors Mark Shepard and Alex Reiser strike the perfect tone to puncture the on-air persona of the classic ESPN SportsCenter host -- hipper than hip, above it all, and better than you. The show's scripting cleverly creates off-camera characters for the duo and a sharp give-take relationship.

There's a strong tone to SportsDome, and the series gets off some good burns on the NFL, Alex Rodriguez, and other sports icons, though the individual bits could be sharper. What's worth following is how the actors and characters develop into a potentially scathing mockery of ESPN and the overall glorification of sports entertainment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the show parodies the media's coverage of sports and superstar athletes. Do you think the media goes too far in worshiping sports heroes?

  • Does the show do a good job of mocking the typical news show on ESPN? In what ways does it hit the mark, and how does it miss?

TV details

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