A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The point of the show is to prove that racism, sexism, stereotyping, and other types of social gaffes are -- as the title suggests -- unwanted and offensive.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some segments use sexual innuendo and partial nudity as punch lines. In one episode, a magazine photo shows a woman wearing thong underwear that reveals her buttocks.
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"serious offenders ("motherf--king," "s--t," and "bitch") are bleeped.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults are occasionally shown drinking, but it's usually in moderation.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this hidden-camera series contains scenarios that aren't always kid-friendly and has some iffy language ("ass," etc.). And since young children might not understand that the people saying offensive things to unsuspecting "victims" are actually actors who were paid to be rude, parents will definitely want to make that point clear. On the plus side, the show could serve as a catalyst for conversations between parents and older teens about racism, sexism, and other types of socially offensive behavior.
Is It Any Good?
Any points S.O.B. earns for its sense of social responsibility are sadly outweighed by its actual entertainment value. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why the show falls short of its noble aims. For one thing, the segments introducing each sketch, which are hosted by actor-comedian D.L. Hughley, come off as slightly strange and inauthentic, in part because they're randomly taped at night in front of a dramatically lit bridge that's nowhere near the action in question. But it's the serious mood of these segments that's especially off-putting. They evoke the somber severity of a show like Unsolved Mysteries rather than the lightheartedness a viewer might expect from a hidden-camera show hosted by a comedian.
Then there's the content. S.O.B.'s sketches are certainly provocative, and the actors who've been hired to say offensive things to unsuspecting victims are extremely good at what they do. But the hijinks never seem to reach a satisfying level of outrageousness, and the victims' responses typically prove underwhelming. Maybe reality TV has trained us to expect human drama and hype on a scale that's simply forced and unrealistic. And maybe that's why S.O.B. seems kind of boring in comparison to other shows of its ilk. In short, S.O.B.: Socially Offensive Behavior isn't a bad show -- and it could actually help you talk to your kids about a long list of worthwhile issues. But it isn't a program with serious staying power. It's as simple as that.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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