Strangers with Candy

TV review by
Jill Murphy, Common Sense Media
Strangers with Candy TV Poster Image
After school-special spoof is an acquired taste.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Jerri is a former junkie, prostitute, and jailbird who makes multiple references to her past behavior "in the joint." She's always happy to ditch her dorky friends in favor of the popular kids. The teachers are far from models of good behavior. The show as a whole is designed to send up the neat lessons of corny after school specials.

Violence

Physical comedy, but all harmless.

Sex

Blatant sexual innuendoes ("I like the pole and the hole"); sloppy kissing for the gross-out factor. Jerri hits on both boys and girls.

Language

Derogatory remarks can be offensive, including "fag", "p--sy", "whore."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Smoking weed, and some drinking. Lots of references to past drug use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this satirical comedy (which has a strong cult fanbase) contains mature humor and is geared toward adults. Jokes are crude and can be racially, sexually, and socially offensive. The series' intention is to poke fun at the ridiculous nature of the after school specials and "very special episodes" that were so popular in the '70s and '80s.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTwainSlimWriter April 29, 2012

HYPOCRITE! THIS SHOW ROCKS!

PLEASE! These after school specials of my childhood created more monsters than they ever solved. I remember so many specials about childhood sexual abuse which... Continue reading
Adult Written byJeffRC March 4, 2012

Hilarious show, but not for younger kids

I love the show, but it first began to air when I was 17, and I feel like it is appropriate for that age, or maybe just a year or two younger. There is lots of... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bythisSisPOSSESSED January 16, 2011

Brilliant for a certain sense of humor.

Oh, this show. It's absolutely hilarious. Jerri Blank's over-the-top innapropriate humor is something to be laughed at rather than cringed at. (if you... Continue reading

What's the story?

Created by Sedaris, Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report, The Daily Show) and Paul Dinello, STRANGERS WITH CANDY positions itself as a spoof on the once-popular after school specials of the '70s and '80s. The show describes its main character, Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), as "a boozer, a user, and a two-time loser" -- she's a 46-year-old ex-prostitute and former junkie who, after being released from prison, decides to pick up where she left off -- high school. So it's not surprising that Jerri is picked on by everyone in school, including art teacher Mr. Jellineck (Dinello), science teacher Mr. Noblet (Colbert), and Principal Onyx Blackman (Greg Hollimon). Jerri quickly comes to the realization that after being a teenage runaway for 32 years and returning to high school, "the faces may have changed, but the hassles are still the same." Each episode of Strangers with Candy ends with another twisted lesson Jerri has learned, always described in her own words.

Is it any good?

In its short run (1999-2000; it still airs in reruns and is available on DVD), Strangers with Candy became a cult favorite and attracted variety of guest stars, including Will Ferrell, Winona Ryder, and Steve Carell (The Office). A big-screen version hit theaters in June 2006.

The series can be offensive on a number of levels -- it almost seems like Sedaris' goal to mock as many groups and institutions as possible -- but keep in mind that it's intended for mature viewers. If you like Sedaris' brand of humor, you'll probably dig the show, but it's definitely not for everyone.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the series' off-beat brand of humor. Is it smart, sarcastic, or over the top? Why is making fun of something considered funny, and when does mocking go too far? Is Jerri funny or repulsive? Why? Do any of the subjects dealt with in the show come up in teens' own lives? How do they deal with them? Teens may need a brief intro to the history of after school specials.

TV details

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