A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Nothing is sacred, and the show takes a fairly cynical attitude toward politics, government, and just about every other institution in America -- though Colbert also uses his considerable influence to benefit causes from the U.S. military to nonprofit organizations that give money to schools.
Positive Role Models
No matter what your politics are, Colbert's "character" is someone you wouldn't want your kids to emulate. He 's arrogant and narrow-minded -- which is, of course, why he's funny in the first place. That said, the real Colbert shines through when the show does segments that support the troops, earn money for important causes, or call attention to worthwhile topics.
Violence & Scariness
No violence to speak of, though the show covers current events, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Witty banter sometimes vamps into sexual innuendo, and Colbert often hawks a made-up product, Formula 401, which consists of his own "DNA" (for those looking for sperm donors). Topical subjects, such as abortion and gay marriage, are often part of the discussion.
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Swearing ("crap," "bitch") pops up occassionally. More serious words are bleeped out, usually for comic effect.
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Products & Purchases
The show plugs its own website at least once during each episode. Other products are shown if they've made the headlines. Colbert has made on-air pleas to companies like Apple to send him free goods (like a new iPad) and then praised them later; he's also had different segments of his show sponsored (like when Doritos sponsored his run for the presidency in 2008) -- although it's ostensibly meant to mock product placement, it results in some pretty nice plugs for the companies involved.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some references to drinking and smoking, and Colbert has done both on camera -- usually as the punchline to some kind of joke.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this news satire pokes fun at conservative political viewpoints, borrowing much of its in-your-face style (and many of its patriotic graphics) from more serious Fox News programs like The O'Reilly Factor. The show's self-important host, Stephen Colbert (played by comedian Stephen Colbert), thumbs his nose at political correctness and generally abhors anything with the slightest scent of liberalism. He's also known for openly criticizing his guests and sharing passionately misguided opinions, most of which lead to absurd conclusions. (For example, while speaking out about the dangers of Mother's Day, he says with deadpan sincerity: "If kids want to do something nice for their mother, that's fine. But for me to join in, it is incest. And it is wrong.")
Is It Any Good?
With its shrewd writing and spot-on deliveries of deadpan one-liners, the show is a wickedly smart weenie-roast of politics, ego, and American patriotism gone awry. But Colbert's passionate opinions could be misinterpreted by young viewers who don't get the joke. Uncomfortable with America's increasing diversity? Colbert has a solution: "America should be like a Lunchable, divided into sanitary compartments of like-minded citizens." Tired of feeling your religion is under attack? Take comfort in Colbert's words: "I say there's nothing wrong with having God as a co-pilot, commander in chief, and secretary of defense."
Bottom line? The Colbert Report is a show that could be great for older teens, forcing them to think about current events and the relationship between media and politics. But those who are more interested in the state of their cell phone minutes than the state of the union might not quite be ready to join in the fun.
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.