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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 this crass sitcom depends heavily on bodily functions for humor. The main characters make their living testing experimental drugs, which cause a broad range of unusual side effects (extreme flatulence, penis enlargement, male lactation, and more), and their discomfort is played for laughs. There's a fair amount of sex -- and even more discussion about sex, genitalia, and bodily functions, with some salty language. There are brief flashes of nudity during some of the medical procedures, and some scenes show people going to the bathroom. In addition to taking lots of experimental drugs, characters are often shown drinking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
TESTEES, a raunchy comedy about two slackers who make their living testing experimental drugs, makes its intentions obvious from the start. Just say the name of the series out loud. Still not clear? Well, the company that pays Peter (Steve Markle) and Ron (Jeff Kassel) to endure a comic string of unusual side effects is named Testico, so it should be apparent to any viewer that they're in for plenty of jokes, some less funny than others, about bodily functions, usually featuring some kind of sexual angle.
Is it any good?
A series focused on medical experiments would have to stretch to reach beyond the obvious, simple humor found in absurd side effects and physical discomfort. Testees, executive produced by South Park writer Kenny Hotz (who also created the vile Kenny vs. Spenny), doesn't even try. The show mines its jokes from placing its test subjects in the most unpleasant, unusual bodily distress that the writers can devise -- including male lactation, extreme flatulence, and enormously swollen genitals -- and then seeing how much they can actually get away with showing on camera.
There's plenty of gross-out humor, which sometimes crosses the fine line between lowbrow funny and simply offensive; the factor that pushes many of the jokes over the edge is their emphasis on humiliation. It's not enough that the characters must suffer; their corporate masters at Testico seem to relish demeaning them by, say, skimping on the lubricating jelly when inserting a test drug or by forcing them to grovel for the privilege of abusing themselves. If it sounds like they're selling their bodies, well that's how it looks, too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's style of "gross-out" humor. What's the appeal of this style of comedy? Who do you think the target audience is? Families can also discuss medical experiments. Drug companies need to test their products before they can be sold, but does this show seem like a realistic portrayal of the doctor-patient relationship? Do the featured side effects appear plausible? Would you be willing to try experimental drugs for money? Even for a lot of money?