Short Poppies

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Short Poppies TV Poster Image
Funny mockumentary interviews are absurd, sometimes crude.

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Kids say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Though characters on the show mock each other ceaselessly, the unkind or bigoted get the most merciless ribbing, which sends a sly message sympathizing with life's underdogs. Sexist situations, such as a sexy leg contest, are subverted by having both men and women judged in an absurd fashion on their physiques.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some of Rhys Darby's characters are kinder and more relatable than others. Lifeguard Terry Pool is a positive thinker who tries to deflect negativity and build up his friends' self-esteem; Mary Ledbetter is a bigot and a racist who gossips about and judges others. Regardless, the humor here is so silly that it's hard to see these characters as actual people one could emulate.


Some characters are single and interested in dating; there are some references to sex that may shock, such as a man describing his sex life with his wife while she's in a coma. There are also sex jokes, such as a sunscreen named Pole Juice.


Occasional four-letter words, usually said for emphasis or jokingly: "hell," "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink beer and make jokes about drugs and drinking that are subtle and may pass over children's heads.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Short Poppies is a mockumentary-style comedy from New Zealand featuring some crude, offbeat humor. Viewers will also hear the occasional four-letter word, generally said in jest. Some of the characters are kind and respectful people, others are more complicated (such as an older female bigot); all are mocked for their pretensions. Finding Short Poppies funny requires the kind of sophisticated, absurdist humor that is generally only possessed by adults or older teens; younger kids will probably mostly be bored and confused by the slow, naturalistic, awkward tone. They may also be stymied by the New Zealand accents.

User Reviews

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Kid, 11 years old May 4, 2014

Great family entertainment from the master, Rhys Darby

Short Poppies is a funny, heart warming comedy mini series. With David Farrier and Rhys Darby of Flight of the Conchords fame, the show focuses on interviewing... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the fictional New Zealand town of The Bay, there are some mighty strange people -- and they're all played by comic Rhys Darby. On each episode of SHORT POPPIES, Darby impersonates everyone from an UFO conspiracy theorist to a lifeguard with sexy legs and a wanna-be sunscreen empire to a 63-year-old member of the Hillside Hat Collectors Club, and submits to a television interview conducted by lifestyle journalist David Farrier (Jemaine Clement). Meanwhile, the viewer sees the hidden connections between these disparate, very funny lives.

Is it any good?

If you're the kind of viewer who enjoys the sort of absurd, dry, awkward humor of shows like the U.K. version of The Office and Summer Heights High, Short Poppies will almost definitely set your personal comedy slot machine to all-cherries, ding ding ding ding! For that matter, if you're a fan of Clement's most-popular-stateside show, Flight of the Conchords, you'd be well-advised to give this one a tumble. It's got the same vibe, the same sharp but shambling humor that takes a while to get going, but for the right viewer, results in deep laughter.

In one episode, Darby as positive-thinking lifeguard Terry Poole goes to visit an insurance agent (Stephen Merchant, guesting) to insure his legs prior to a sexy-legs competition. The agent muses about missing his first wife, killed by a shark, and what a drag it is to be married to his second wife, who's in a coma. He has to bathe her, he has to dress her, but at least the sex is "mediocre, like it was before." Then he examines Pool's legs in great detail before insuring the left one for $310 and the right for $300, due to a slight "discoloration" by the knee. It's funny. Funny disturbing, and funny ha-ha. If you like that kind of thing, you'll like this.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why so many modern shows use the mockumentary style of humor. What is the first mockumentary you remember seeing? Can you remember others? Why do you think this type of humor is popular today?

  • Are viewers supposed to like and relate to the characters in Short Poppies? Some more than others? None at all? What about the way they are presented makes you draw this conclusion?

  • Would it be possible for anyone to mistake Short Poppies for a real documentary? Why or why not?

TV details

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