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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 Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is a comedy about an aging rocker who reconnects with his fame-hungry daughter. The jokes are extremely raunchy: A man tries to passionately (mistakenly) kiss his daughter, there's an extended sequence about code words for female private parts, and there are jokes about and references to group sex, oral sex, and consequence-free casual sex. Expect frequent unbleeped cursing: "s--t," "a--hole," vulgar expressions referring to sex. Characters snort cocaine and smoke marijuana on-screen. Brand logos are shown; real celebrities and rock stars appear as themselves and are plot points.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
It was all SEX&DRUGS&ROCK&ROLL when Johnny Rock (Denis Leary) and his band the Heathens had their brief, shining moment of indie fame. Unfortunately, on the brink of releasing their first album, they broke up after lead guitarist Flash (John Corbett) caught Johnny in bed with his wife, and it's been downhill ever since. Johnny is exhausted, broke, and on the verge of joining a Bryan Adams tribute band when his long-lost daughter shows up. Gigi (Elizabeth Gillies) has some money to burn and a towering desire to be famous, plus the talent to back it up. She persuades her dad to get the band back together -- with her as the lead singer and Dad relegated to behind-the-scenes status.
Is it any good?
The cast of Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is charming enough, and there are some talented writers at the helm, but there are equally cringe-worthy elements that detract from the funny. Leary plays over-it-all reliably well, and he makes a creditable exhausted never-was rock star. But would a young, aspiring singer really pin her chances at success on reforming her dad's old band and taking it on the road? This creaky concept and numerous sitcom hijinks -- people run into each other in New York City with weird frequency on this show -- take the goings-on down a couple of notches.
However, some jokes do hit their targets -- we're suckers for good gags about song cycles and other music nerdery -- and several of the cast members are gems, most particularly Elaine Hendrix, whom you may recognize as the meanie from The Parent Trap remake as well as Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion. Give this woman more to do, please! But let it not be singing on this show. The moments when the band is singing together, clearly meant to generate some good vibes, are painful. A little advice: Stick to the workplace dynamics of a rock band. In these moments, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll shines.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the premise for this show. How likely is it that a young artist would enlist the help of an older one who was never famous?
Think about other shows that take place in creative workplaces: ad agencies, magazines, movie studios. Do these productions show what the characters are actually producing, as on Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll?