The Crazy Ones

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Crazy Ones TV Poster Image
Big stars try too hard in innuendo-laden comedy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Father-daughter dynamics are at the root of a lot of The Crazy Ones' drama, and the relationship between Sydney and Simon is sweet and loving, if fraught. Jokes sometimes reinforce stereotypes about gay people or make light of other groups.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lead characters are hardworking and respectable, with a close father/daughter pair at the center of the action. One character has consequence-free casual sex; other characters are a mixed bag.


Plenty of sexual innuendo. One character is a lothario, and his sex life is frequently referred to.


Some cursing, usually in jest: an "assload of hamburgers." There's also sexual language and innuendo.


The show is about an ad agency that advertises real-life brands such as McDonald's; real-life personalities such as Kelly Clarkson appear, and others are mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking, as when one character finishes a rough moment and eyes a cocktail, asking its owner, "You gonna drink that?"

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Crazy Ones is a workplace comedy about an unconventional ad agency and that it has mature humor and a lot of innuendo. One of the characters is a lothario who engages in frequent casual sex, which is referred to often in jokes. There's some rough language and cursing, usually humorous and not directed angrily at other characters. Real-life companies (such as McDonald's) are mentioned in plots about ad campaigns, and real-life celebrities (such as Kelly Clarkson) appear as themselves or are mentioned. There are subtle jokes denigrating gay people, and humor about characters having sex to advance their careers. Characters may drink alcohol and refer to drinking as a release from tense situations.

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What's the story?

Showrunner David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal) mines the workplace for laughs again in THE CRAZY ONES, which follows the adventures of a quirky ad agency led by the mercurial Simon Roberts (Robin Williams) and his exasperated Type-A daughter Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Together with their lead copywriter, the charming and lucky-in-(short-term)-love Zach Cropper (James Wolk), they're leading their agency by the seats of their pants. There are demanding clients, flaky talent, clueless co-workers, and unpredictable twists. Still, when Sydney and Simon pull together, they always pull through.

Is it any good?

It's all too easy to picture the pitch meeting for The Crazy Ones. It's like Mad Men, see? But funny! Well, it's supposed to be. But we're not laughing much, though Robin Williams is mugging energetically at every opportunity, throwing off asides and accent changes while Gellar gets to be the straight woman and sourpuss, harshing on Williams' big plans and big ideas which (spoiler alert!) have a craaaaaazy way of working out just right. 

The best part of the show is the interplay between Williams and James Wolk's Zach Cropper. These two have chemistry and give a little fizz to what otherwise seems like strained hijinks that have the rhythms of comedy and drama without actually being funny or dramatic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the characters featured on The Crazy Ones seem realistic. Do you think this is the way ad agencies do business? If not, why would they be portrayed differently from real life?

  • Contrast a show like The Crazy Ones with a reality show about advertising like The Pitch. How is The Crazy Ones alike or different from this show? Now contrast The Crazy Ones with another fictional take on advertising like Mad Men.

  • The producers of The Crazy Ones clearly chose to portray real products on its show. Do you think the companies that make the products are paying? Do you often notice real-life products are shown on television? Why would TV shows want to use brand-name products?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedy

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