By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Uneven COVID satire has zombie violence, sex work, cursing.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Themes include government cover-ups, the dangers of the politicization of medicine, and negotiating interpersonal relationships. Science is relied upon for solutions.
Positive Role Models
Nobody is perfect in this series, but many characters to find viable ways to stop the virus, even if it puts them in danger. The diverse cast includes actors who are Black and from multiethnic backgrounds.
Violence & Scariness
Bloody, gory scenes of fantasy violence featuring people being attacked and bitten, or biting and stabbing themselves. Most of the time this is presented in humorous ways. Dismembered body parts are also shown. Needles and medical injections are also shown in one episode.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Includes sexual banter, BDSM interactions, and crude references to sex acts. Infidelity is a theme. A cast member is a dominatrix, and wears provocative clothing when working. No nudity, but at times people are in their underwear or show a lot of skin.
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Words like "a--wipe," "bitch," and curses like "s--t" and "f-ck" are sometimes used. There's some online catty commentary as well.
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Products & Purchases
Apple products are visible everywhere throughout the series. There are also references to Trader Joe’s.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine is briefly visible. Medical experimentation to find a cocktail that will stop the virus from spreading is shown.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Bite is a miniseries satire set in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to some fantasy blood and gore, there are some mature themes, including infidelity and sex work, and the death of loved ones. Sexual content includes BDSM interactions, crude references to sex acts, and one character who is a dominatrix wears provocative clothing when working. Expect to hear curses like "s--t" and "f--k." Apple products are used throughout the series.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Created by Robert and Michelle King, THE BITE follows the lives of two neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic. New York City is shut down, and Dr. Rachel Boutella (Audra McDonald) is practicing telemedicine from her apartment while her husband, Dr. Zach Deraux (Steven Pasquale), works at the CDC in Washington, DC. Upstairs, dominatrix Lily Leithauser (Taylor Schilling) is trying to satisfy her frustrated Wall Street clients' fantasies online. But when one of Rachel's patients gets bitten by a clerk at the local Trader Joe's, she soon realizes that a new strain of the virus is spreading, creating even more disturbing, and deadly, problems that point to a government cover up.
Is It Any Good?
The satirical comedy features a cast of popular Broadway actors in an odd and disjointed miniseries set at the height of a COVID pandemic that ultimately turns into a zombie apocalypse. As Rachel (Audra McDonald) and Lily (Taylor Schilling) address the realities of the immediate crisis in their own ways, they are also negotiating their careers, as well as personal relationship problems with spouses, lovers, and parents. It doesn't help that most of the series was produced during the real 2020 pandemic quarantine, which created the need for most scenes between unmarried actors to be shot via video conference.
Nonetheless, The Bite does offer some entertaining moments. Both McDonald and Schilling give solid performances throughout, and appearances by folks like Michael Urie, Phillipa Soo, and Ben Shenkman offer some well-timed sardonic humor. Meanwhile, most of the gory, over-the-top zombie activity is more farcical than frightening. But this is juxtaposed with some difficult and sad scenes toward the end of the series, which suggest that despite the crazy premise, we should have taken the entire senseless situation more seriously.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the different ways the media industry adapted to the COVID-19 crisis. How was content produced, given that people couldn't physically work together in studios and other settings? How will this impact the way media content is created in the future?
What is the intent of The Bite's creators? To entertain? To offer a socio-political messages? Did they succeed at either? Why?
- Premiere date: May 21, 2021
- Cast: Audra McDonald, Taylor Schilling, Steven Pasquale
- Network: Spectrum
- Genre: Comedy
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- TV rating: NR
- Last updated: February 28, 2022
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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