A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Save Me is a comedy aimed squarely at adults. It centers on a family with a bitter alcoholic mother, a philandering ready-to-divorce father, and a teen daughter who despises her parents and has been having a no-strings fling with a teen male neighbor. Characters drink onscreen, they cheat on their spouses, they call each other names and gossip viciously behind each other's backs. Though the main character is supposedly working on her own redemption, the show's idea of a kindness she pays her neighbor is to advise her to give her husband more oral sex. Emotions are played for laughs on this show, as is sex, commitment, and kindness. Even worse: The frantic goings-on aren't really funny. This ugly sitcom is not recommended for kids or teens, and would make painful whole-family watching.
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What's the story?
At the beginning of NBC sitcom SAVE ME, Beth Harper (Anne Heche) had turned into, as she puts it, an "angry drunken bitch" due to life's disappointments. Chief among them is her husband Tom (Michael Landes), who's getting ready to tell Beth what she already knows: He's been cheating on her and is about to leave her for his mistress. But when a late-night snack turns into a near-death experience for Beth, she suddenly begins believing she's been touched by God and is a prophet. Now she's on a mission to save her marriage, make her sneering teen daughter love her, and make the world around her a better place.
Is it any good?
Anyone who knows anything about the background of lead actor Anne Heche will find it a bit uncomfortably on the nose when she starts ranting about being "touched by God." No doubt the actor's personal history was meant to be a postmodern touch of irony. Instead, it just adds extra discomfort to the full load already onscreen. The Harpers are not nice people. They snipe at each other and ignore their daughter, who fills the affection gap with "booty calls" from a horny neighbor.
The people who fill their world are not nice, either. Neighbors gossip endlessly about Beth and avoid her, though Beth manages to bridge the gap a little by giving one neighbor advice to give her husband more oral sex. Magically, that solves all the couple's marital problems, and the husband raves to his friends how awesome his life is now. Ugh, ugh, and more ugh. If all this were funnier, we could forgive the crudity and meanness; if it were sweeter, we could forgive the lack of laughs. Instead, what we have her is sitcom fakery of the worst kind: People acting unlike real people for laughs that never arrive. What a waste of a talented cast.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the storyline. Are we supposed to take the goings on on Save Me seriously? Is the plot realistic? How? How is it over the top? What reaction are we supposed to have to these people's lives?
Read up on the personal life of Save Me's lead, Anne Heche. Why do you think this actor was chosen to play this role? Did her personal history play into the decision?
Turn down the sound on your set and watch a scene of Save Me. Who is the main character in the scene? What can you learn about what's going on by how the characters are dressed, lighted, and filmed?