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 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.
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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?
For kids who love humor
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