TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Pompidou TV Poster Image
Absurd dialogue-free comedy a great whole-family watch.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value
Positive Messages

Friendship is stressed in the relationship between Hove and Pompidou, though they often disagree. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pompidou and Hove are bumbling and often greedy but, in the end, sweet. 

Violence & Scariness

Cartoonish: Pompidou pushes aside a man who proves to be on crutches with only one leg; Hove swallows a bird, which makes a nest in his stomach. 

Sexy Stuff

You can rarely make out what the actors are saying, but it's mild, anyway. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional references to prescription drugs: Pompidou knocks out a doctor by putting pills in his oatmeal. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pompidou is a nearly dialogue-free sitcom about a down-on-his-luck former aristocrat and his butler. The themes of the show are surreal and silly, like a Benny Hill with the dirty stuff taken out or an Aardman cartoon come to life. There's some cartoonish violence: Pompidou pushes aside a man who turns out to have crutches and one leg; Hove the butler swallows a bird, which nests in his stomach. Pompidou knocks out a doctor by putting prescription medication into his oatmeal. But this mostly mild show is fine for kids, and its brand of physical comedy can be understood even by the very young. 

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What's the story?

Once upon a time, the family of POMPIDOU was a wealthy one. But this generation's scion is a tubby, hapless man who goes only by his family name, slumming it in a trailer in front of his crumbling ancestral mansion. Pompidou's only friend is his butler, Hove, who continues to wait on Pompidou despite dealing with personal challenges such as having a bird fly into his mouth and begin making a nest in his stomach. Pompidou and Hove don't have very much, it's true. But the craziest things always happen to them, so they're happy anyway. 

Is it any good?

Pompidou isn't a clone of Mr. Bean, but any fan of the silly, largely nonverbal Bean brand of comedy will warm to Pompidou instantly. The laughs are very British -- subplots involve fish, chips, and tea -- and the setups are of the time-honored slapstick variety. If you see a pool of water, chances are good that either Pompidou, or Hove, or both are going to take a tumble, and the more nicely dressed fellow actors are, the more likely they'll fall in, too. 

The nice thing about Pompidou for families is that the mostly dialogue-less (actors generally harrumph indistinctly to convey their thoughts) jokes are fathomable by even the very young, while parents are treated to over-their-heads jokes; for example, as Pompidou and his pet poodle sit at their dining table awaiting a meal, the dog reads a book entitled Your Twig, and How to Fetch It. When a doctor listens to Pompidou's chest with a stethoscope, kids will understand that the doctor's hearing music and voices inside -- and parents will understand that Pompidou is somehow receiving vintage European radio signals. It's all very light and lots of fun; give it a try for your next family TV night. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why this show doesn't actually feature dialogue. Do you wish the actors would talk? Why, or why not? 

  • Hove and Pompidou don't speak to each other in an understandable way. How do they convey their meaning? 

  • How does this show announce that Pompidou was once an aristocrat but now is poor? Consider the set dressing, plot, and costumes.

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love British comedy

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