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The Great Indoors
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 Great Indoors focuses on a diverse group of magazine journalists whose work happens almost exclusively online, though they still report to a central office. Standard office hijinx prevail, but you'll hear some references to sexual activity (think office hookups and nude photo-sharing) and see the magazine's founder drinking hard liquor during the day, along with regular scenes set in a bar. Characters use words such as "penis" and "gay" (in a borderline offensive way), and there's some physical violence that's played for comedy.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Reporting back from an exotic assignment, globe-trotting adventure reporter Jack Gordon (Joel McHale) finds himself assigned to THE GREAT INDOORS as manager of the magazine's digital division -- a team composed entirely of millennials. The crew includes "online content curator" Clark (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), "social influencer" Emma (Christine Ko), and "digital conversation specialist" Mason (Shaun Brown), with oversight from Jack's new supervisor, Brooke (Susannah Fielding), who's both an old flame and the daughter of the magazine's aging founder (Stephen Fry).
Is it any good?
Take every criticism you've ever read about so-called millennials, set them to a laugh track with a charismatic lead who seems reluctant to repeat them, and you've got a comedy with good potential. Not because it's particularly clever or original -- the multi-camera format feels like a throwback, and most of the jokes rely on stereotypes -- but rather because it manages to put an acceptable spin on otherwise mediocre material. Having McHale in the lead helps a lot, but so does the fact that, at times, The Great Indoors seems willing to cop to its own shortcomings with wry deliveries and self-deprecating digs, even as the tired millennial jokes march on (and on).
While it's true that The Great Indoors makes fun of multiple generations, the millennials really do get short shrift, so it's hard to imagine the series appealing to anyone who falls squarely in that demographic. It's also hard to imagine the show's younger actors not texting each other during a table read about how ridiculous this dialogue makes them sound, which made us wonder what The Great Indoors would be like if they were the ones telling the story -- or at least had more of a say in it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the premise of The Great Indoors and whether it unfairly stereotypes so-called millennials. What are the qualities ascribed to the show's younger characters, and how do they compare with those of the young adults you know? What would actual millennials think of the way they're portrayed on the show?
What age group will The Great Indoors appeal to the most? Who's the target audience, and how can you tell? In what ways does the show's demographic influence its comedy?
How accurately does The Great Indoors address the changing world of magazine journalism? What are the drawbacks to an increasingly digital world when it comes to reading, writing, and staying informed?