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 improvisational comedy series includes mild sexual innuendo and jokes that play off of issues like homosexuality and race relations. Since they're thrown into costumes and scenes without any preparation, comedians often fall back on stereotypes for laughs (like a dim blonde beauty pageant contestant who spews off-the-wall answers during a Q & A session). That said, the series' jovial nature casts a harmless light on all of the humor, so older tweens and teens shouldn't be any worse for the wear after tuning in. Occasional strong language is the only other hiccup in this unpredictable series.
What's the story?
Hosted by David Alan Grier (In Living Color) and adapted from an Australian show of the same name, THANK GOD YOU'RE HERE puts four seasoned comedians to the ultimate quick-thinking test as they're thrown into live, five-minute sketches without any script or preparation. Featured guests include the likes of Jennifer Coolidge, Jason Alexander, Bryan Cranston, and Wayne Knight. The courageous contestants have no clue what awaits them behind the door of destiny other than the often-outrageous outfit they have to don moments before coming onstage. In each sketch, a fellow improv actor kicks off the dialogue by declaring, "Thank God you're here!" and the newcomers are forced to think on their feet, taking clues from -- and exchanging quips with -- the far-better-prepared cast and turning to everything from wardrobe malfunctions to impromptu kissing scenes for comedic inspiration. After their individual scenes, the four participants join forces in a no-holds-barred final sketch, with resident expert/judge Dave Foley (NewsRadio) declaring one the week's winner.
Is it any good?
Thank God You're Here is sure to draw improv fans of all ages, but while it's loads of fun to watch the actors work their quick-witted magic on the cast (and each other), the show is dragged down -- and unnecessarily drawn out -- by Grier's brief stabs at stand-up between scenes and Foley's cheesy feedback after every sketch. (You can definitely feel the American Idol production team's influence in that regard.)
Mild sexual innuendo and occasional questionable language might raise some parental eyebrows, but little of it is likely to be new to older tweens and young teens. Those who tune in are sure to enjoy watching these comedic icons test their skills on a whole new level.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about comedy. What are the different styles of comedy? How is each one defined? How are they similar and different? What stretches the boundaries of comedy? When is a joke taken too far? Where is the line between funny and hurtful? How has comedy changed over the years? Can people today still relate to the style of legends like Lucille Ball and George Burns? Why or why not? Tweens: What kind of comedy do you like the most? Who are some of your favorite comedians? Why?
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