By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Language, crackling sexual tension in fun escapist thriller.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
It's easy to root for a hot romance, but worth noting that this drama involves characters who try to walk away from their responsibilities, including kids, employees and others who depend on our leads. The elements of an authentic and happy life are examined thoughtfully.
Positive Role Models
Billy and Ruby are complicated people who make mistakes due to their attractions and emotions. Their enormous sexual chemistry makes their actions understandable, but it's hard to root for a pair that hurt people on the way to coming together. Characters are complex and change over the course of this story's arc.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is infrequent, but during an emotional argument, a female character hits a male one, which is presented as funny.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters share a romantic attraction; their romance forms the basis of much of the show's drama. Expect passionate kissing, flirting, references to sex. In one scene, characters retire separately to bathrooms to masturbate; we see their hands moving suggestively and hear moans but see no nudity.
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Cursing includes "goddamn," "f--k," "prick," "bulls--t," "tits," "s--t," "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes take place at bars, with characters drinking beer and cocktails and then making reckless choices. In another scene, characters talk about being "wasted," "drunk," and "smashed off my tits."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Run is a comedy/thriller about former college sweethearts who abandon their lives to run away together on a moment's notice. The sexual tension between our two leads is strong; expect it to underlie this show's events and to frequently erupt into passionate kissing and (off-screen sex). Sexual content is mature (like in a scene in which each character masturbates separately in a train bathroom) but mostly implied. Both ran away from responsibilities including children and employees, which makes them harder to root for, but this narrative is complicated and has both sympathy and punishment for these characters. Violence is infrequent, but played for laughs, like a scene in which a female character smacks a male one in the face during an argument. Language is frequent: "g--damn," "f--k," "prick," "s--t," "hell." Characters drink beer and cocktails in scenes set in bars; they also refer to being "wasted" and making reckless decisions while drinking. The characters in this show are complicated people who make mistakes; they also grow and change over the span of the show.
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What's the Story?
When Billy (Domhnall Gleeson) and Ruby (Merritt Wever) were college sweethearts they made a pact: If one of them ever texted the word RUN and the other replied back with the same word, they'd walk out of their lives and meet on a train bound from New York's Grand Central Station to be together. It's been 17 years since college, and both have heavy lives with heavy responsibilities, but today's the day when they exchange their fateful messages, and they're on the train together, running from lives they'd rather not talk about. But despite their plans, it doesn't take long for their problems to catch up to them -- is their romantic escape just a short vacation from real life? Or will it end up in a place neither planned to go?
Is It Any Good?
Billy and Ruby have so much crackling tension in this thrilling comedy (or is it a comic thriller?) that viewers will be forgiven for primarily wishing the two would go ahead and kiss already. But Run is all about teasing out the story and its two leads, slowly revealing what they're running from and why as the pair inch ever closer to the inevitable outpour of all that sexual energy. Wever, so good as a gentle yet intrepid detective on Unbelievable, is on fire in Run, oscillating between confidence, exhilaration, arousal, and regret in the space of a few minutes.
The chemistry between Billy and Ruby is enormous, magnificent, so strong that within a few minutes of meeting, each retires separately to an Amtrak bathroom to pleasure themselves and take the edge off. It's easy to see they're still enchanted by each other, harder to understand what each is running from, though those surprises are doled out judiciously, episode by episode. Naturally, both have things in their past that can't be left behind, and people who are looking for them, and though the drama cheats a wee bit with narrative curveballs involving a lack of cell service (really? On the corridor from NYC to Chicago, no service?) to hold them off, the complications start piling up and threaten to derail their hastily conceived plans. But that'll only make viewers more confounded and compelled by this great escape of a series. All aboard -- wherever Billy and Ruby go, you'll want to follow.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about "high concept" stories -- ones in which the show or movie's premise can be summed up in about a sentence. Are these types of narratives always straightforward and simple? What's Run's concept? Is this show predictable due to the easy-to-summarize premise?
What do people mean when they say that actors have "chemistry?" Do the lead actors in this show have it? Does this chemistry make it easier to buy a love story, or not? Can actors overcome a lack of chemistry? What examples can you think of?
Romantic movies and TV shows generally show couples getting together for the first time, rather than long-established romances. Why? How does Run convey that their main couple has history?
- Premiere date: April 12, 2020
- Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Merritt Wever, Archie Panjabi, Phoebe Waller-Bridge
- Network: HBO
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: December 21, 2022
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