Sick Note

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Sick Note TV Poster Image
Language, violence, dirty jokes in great pitch-black comedy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Don't look for positive messages in this black comedy, which assumes that people are self-interested and rather nasty (if funny). 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Main character Daniel means well but he's lazy and willing to deceive everyone in his life for the sake of good treatment. Dr. Glennis is a terribly incompetent doctor who is allowed to keep practicing. Kenny West borders on cartoonishly evil. Upon hearing that Daniel has just been diagnosed with cancer he yells: "Boo hoo! Clean your desk!" The cast is racially diverse, but central roles are reserved for male characters. 

Violence

Violence is definitely played for laughs, but there are onscreen deaths (no blood or gore), and very dark comic situations, like when a doctor attempts suicide via carbon monoxide and his car. 

Sex

Characters have sex with noises and movements, but no nudity. A man and woman kiss, and then she grips his crotch through his pants as he smiles. Sexual jokes can veer towards the very dark: the opening scene of the show features Daniel and a friend discussing the ethics of having sex with a recently deceased Marilyn Monroe if either was a police officer happening upon her dead body. "She's still warm!" says the friend (Daniel ultimately decides he'd "sneak a look" but nothing more). 

Language

Language includes "s--t," "ass-f--ked," "f--king," "hooker," "a--hole," "p---y," "c--t," "pricks," "bollocks," One character in particular is given to obscene statements like "s--tlicker" and "I'm working harder than a hooker's p---y." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink alcohol to escape their problems and sometimes get sloppy after drinking. In other scenes, adults drink wine with dinner and don't get tipsy. Daniel smokes cigarettes, which he tries to hide (unsuccessfully) from Becca. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sick Note is a dark comedy about a man who fakes cancer because he enjoys the way the people in his life treat him as a cancer patient. The premise is obviously dark, and the show continues on in the same vein, with many jokes about cancer, about death, about other ticklish subjects. Characters die onscreen and their deaths are played for laughs, as is a scene in which a despondent man attempts suicide (but does not go through with it). A character dies after an incident of autoerotic asphyxiation. Other sexual jokes can be offensive, like a scene in which two men discuss the possibility of having sex with Marilyn Monroe upon discovering her corpse. Characters have sex with moaning and movements, but no nudity, including a scene in which a man and woman have an illicit affair in the front seat of a car. Language is frequent and blue: "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "a--hole," along with English slang like "bollocks." 

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What's the story?

SICK NOTE's Daniel (Rupert Grint) is a big loser. His girlfriend Becca (Pippa Bennett-Warner) is ready to kick him out, his boss Michael (Karl Theobald) is on the verge of firing him, even his mom doesn't really want to take his calls. But then the fabulously incompetent Dr. Glennis (Nick Frost) misdiagnoses him with terminal cancer, and everyone, even his company's vicious CEO Kenny West (Don Johnson), starts treating Daniel a lot more kindly. Suddenly Daniel and Dr. Glennis are locked in an insane pact: Daniel will pretend to have cancer, Dr. Glennis will pretend to cure him.

Is it any good?

The opening scene of this edgy comedy features the main character debating the morality of having sex with Marilyn Monroe's dead body -- and it only gets darker and dirtier from there. You'll know within a few minutes if this polarizing comedy is for you (and if you're a fan of other Nick Frost vehicles like Hot Fuzz and The World's End, it most likely is). The humor is goofy, sophomoric, frequently asinine -- and hilarious, to a viewer who finds that kind of thing amusing. "You're dumping me?" whines Daniel in the show's pilot to a fed-up Becca, his only protestation "But we're only halfway through season 5 of Game of Thrones!" In season 2, a character who wants to keep an embarrassing death private is horrified to see details has already hit Reddit. 

And there's also an appearance by a surprisingly game Lindsay Lohan, who joins the Sick Note in Season 2 as the daughter of stand-out first-season character Kenny. She's better here than she's been in years, though not quite as much fun as Don Johnson -- who knew that guy from Miami Vice would be so good spitting out insane insults to Grint's Daniel? No, this show isn't subtle, and you can pretty much predict the twists from a thousand paces, but if absurd yet knowing jokes make you hyuk-hyuk on your couch, this show might, too. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the premise of Sick Note. Is faking cancer something that real people do? What might their reasons be? Would they be similar to Daniel's? 

  • People often refer to certain styles of comedy as being "British," meaning understated, dry, and somewhat intellectual, yet frequently very silly. Does this show exemplify that British style? How is it different from the way an American cast and crew might interpret the material? 

  • Many of the cast members in Sick Note are famous from other projects. Does knowing a certain actor from other movies or TV shows affect the way you watch them in this one? How? Does it enhance or detract from your enjoyment of the show? 

TV details

For kids who love dark comedy

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