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 The Brink is a political parody containing mature themes, crude humor, strong sexual content including nudity (bare breasts, buttocks), and drinking (hard liquor) and drugs (weed, pills). There's lots of discussion of wartime violence and terrorism, and on occasion angry protests and other rough moments are shown. Be prepared for a lot of cursing ("s--t," “f--k") and stereotyping.
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What's the story?
THE BRINK is a political comedy that centers on the impact a geopolitical crisis is having on three men in the middle of it all. Between drinking and womanizing, United States Secretary of State Walter Larson (Tim Robbins) is actively working on stabilizing the chaos brewing in Pakistan following a coup. In Islamabad, low-ranking and rather desperate foreign service officer Alex Talbot (Jack Black) finds himself -- along with his reluctant local driver, Rafiq Massoud (Aasif Mandvi) -- in the middle of the growing tension. Meanwhile, committed Navy fighter pilot Zeke Tilson (Pablo Schreiber) is on active duty in the Gulf, while supplementing his income with illegal prescription-drug sales to his fellow officers. They are very different people faced with very different problems, but somehow the president (Esai Morales) and his cabinet find themselves relying on the three of them to save the planet from a third world war.
Is it any good?
The dark comedy series attempts to recreate the Cold War-like satire of Dr. Strangelove with edgier, more modern-day cynicism as it paints an absurd picture of American foreign politics, incompetent characters, and offbeat situations. But outside the sex, drugs, and crude gags, the show lacks the thoughtful, well-written irony necessary for it it be considered smart or insightful. It's too bad, because the cast is top-notch, and with better material stars Robbins and Black could shine.
There's no shortfall of stereotypes here, ranging from the Middle-Eastern-religious-zealot-turned-terrorist to the Asian prostitute. Though some are offered within the context of political parody, others just feel like cheap, gratuitous attempts at getting a laugh. Some may find a bit of humor here, but overall The Brink falls short.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about satire. Satire uses humor to expose truths. Does this show succeed at doing this? Is using stereotypes ever appropriate in an attempt to be funny or make a point?
Political satire is often used to raise questions or critique government leadership or policies. Is there ever a time when this kind of humor isn't appropriate?