Rules of the Game
By Ty'Kira Smalls,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Mature, dark series on corporate sexism has violence, sex.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Though the needs of the few often trump the needs of the many, the monster of workplace toxicity and sexism will drag everyone down with it.
Positive Role Models
Everyone is either trapped, complacent, complicit, or perpetuating in this dire workplace culture. The exception is new hire Maya, whose job in HR is to foster the opposite environment. She takes it seriously, even outside the workplace, but is met with backlash and judgment.
The main protagonist is a woman. Some diversity in race/ethnicity across supporting characters (a few who hold directive roles), but they're mainly under White counterparts who hold positions of authority.
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Violence & Scariness
Graphic talks about self-harm and suicide, blood, conversations alluding to sexual assault, and crude conversations about crime.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frank depictions of sex and sexual acts. Blunt talks about sex lives and using sex to keep men's interest.
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Strong language including "bitch," "f--k," "t-ts," "piss," "hell," and British slang "shag" and "f-g" (cigarettes).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many characters have a co-dependency on drugs (weed), smoking (vapes and cigarettes), and drinking. Revelations about pressuring others to do drugs/drink, how it's seen as necessary to succeed in the workplace.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rules of the Game is a dramatic mystery that focuses on toxicity and sexism in the workplace. Violence includes talk of self-harm and suicide, blood, crude conversations about crime, and conversations that allude to sexual assault. There are frank depictions of sex and sexual acts, and blunt talks about sex lives and utilizing sex to keep men's interest. Strong language including "bitch," "f--k," "t-ts," "piss," and the British slang "shag" and "f-g" (for cigarettes). Many characters use drugs (weed), smoking (vapes and cigarettes), and alcohol. There are conversations about pressuring others to do drugs and drink. The main protagonist is a woman, and there is some diversity in race and ethnicity across supporting characters, but they're mainly underneath White counterparts who hold positions of authority.
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Rules of the Game
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What's the Story?
Sam Thompson (Maxine Peak) is all too familiar with the RULES OF THE GAME when it comes to working at Fly, a family-run sportswear company: Do your work, dance with the boys, don't ask questions, and go home. But when Sam discovers the body of a dead co-worker at her job, she's confronted with the harsh realities of workplace culture, sexism, and her participation in them. Detective Eve Preston (Susan Wokoma) is convinced that there's more to this death than meets the eye, especially since newly hired HR Director Maya (Rakhee Thakrar) had been investigating the culture at Fly since her arrival. As the investigation continues, Sam must reckon with the true consequences of playing this dangerous game.
Is It Any Good?
Though the story takes its theme too literally at times, character dynamics and mystery keep this "game" mildly interesting. Rules of the Game has broken one rule and made the world part of the theme, instead of exploring the theme through the world. Due to this, the plot and characters are a bit underdeveloped and one-dimensional.
Rules of the Game makes the observation about the effects of workplace toxicity and sexism/sexual politics on corporate culture. Though the sex and violence make this show obviously not for kids, parents could use it as an opportunity to discuss with older kids if and how they see these themes play out in real life.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about perpetuating toxic workplace culture in Rules of the Game. There are many instances where someone notices something negative happening but doesn't say anything. What makes someone do this? Have you ever been in a situation like this in real life? What motivated your decisions?
How does this show portray sexism in the workplace? Which characters are affected? How do they handle adversity? What pros and cons are shown of standing up?
What makes someone an alcoholic? How does alcoholism affect lives in and out of work? Does the show handle the topic responsibly and/or realistically?
- Premiere date: February 27, 2022
- Cast: Maxine Peake, Susan Wokoma, Rakhee Thakrar
- Network: Hulu
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: May 19, 2022
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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Where to Watch
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