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 sitcom is about women who have chosen to make personal sacrifices in order to support loved ones who are seeking a career in professional football. Dialogue and storylines include strong references to infidelity and promiscuity, there's some stereotyping of both Caucasian and African-American characters, and inappropriate comments are made about women.
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What's the story?
THE GAME is a sitcom that centers on the day-to-day lives of the women who stand behind the football players of the fictitious San Diego Sabers -- and about the games these women play to keep the guys by their side. Tia Mowry stars as medical student Melanie Barnett, who gave up Johns Hopkins Medical School and a close relationship with her parents in order to be with her boyfriend Derwin Davis (Pooch Hall), the Sabers' newly drafted third-string wide receiver. Struggling to find a balance between her studies and the demands of being a pro-football player's exclusive girlfriend, she finds herself competing with practice schedules, gold-digging groupies, and flirtatious image consultants. She finds support in Tasha Mack (Wendy Raquel Robinson), the pushy mother/manager of quarterback Malik Wright (Hosea Chanchez), and Kelly Pitts (Brittany Daniel), the dissatisfied wife of the NFL's most frugal star player, Jason Pitts (Coby Bell).
Is it any good?
While The Game is a comedy, it's rooted in the less-than-funny controversial side of pro football, which is notorious for glorifying womanizing and excessive materialism. While the players work hard to avoid being cut from the team and falling victim to temptation, Melanie, Tasha, and Kelly must find ways to keep the guys focused both on the game and on them. The Game highlights strong, intelligent women who refuse to fall victim to the pitfalls of living with football players and who strive to build and maintain their own unique identities outside of the supporting roles they play in the NFL franchise. It also serves as a humorous reminder that no professional athlete, no matter how talented, makes it to the big leagues on his or her own.
That said, the series does have a fair amount of innuendo-laced dialogue and situations, and the writers fall back on stereotypes (of both Caucasian and African-American characters, as well as women in general) all too quickly. It's no Footballers' Wives (thankfully!), but it's not clear sailing for the younger set, either.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sacrifices associated with professional sports. Who supports an athlete "behind the scenes"? How and why? Are professional sports more about making money or about the love of the sport? Families can also discuss the importance of preserving your own sense of identity while trying to support a loved one's efforts to achieve their goals.