The Jack and Triumph Show

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Jack and Triumph Show TV Poster Image
Sitcom format doesn't suit sharp-tongued dog's comedy.

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Kids say

age 12+
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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The show mines Triumph's trademark insult comedy for laughs, and everyone is fair game for jabs at physical appearance, weight, success (or lack thereof), age, and race. It also mocks the divide between celebrities' lives and those of average citizens, particularly when it comes to excess and indulgence. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Triumph is rude and crass, which the show spins as appealing humor. June has Jack's best interests at heart, but she can be dishonest with her compliant charge. Jack's sunny disposition makes him an easy mark for manipulation. 

Violence
Sex

Sex is more of a discussion point than it is a physical presence on the show. Jokes about rape, necrophilia, masturbation, prostitution, sexual favors, oral sex (Triumph mentions having to "blow a coyote"), and adult toys are fair game. Lots of quips about Triumph humping legs, and he's seen simulating sex with a horse statue. Bedroom scenes show partners getting dressed (no nudity, though), implying the act just happened. In one case, a man imitates nursing from fake breasts.

Language

"Bitch," "a--hole," "s--t," and "bulls--t." "F--k" is edited. Slang sexual and body references include "nutsack," "balls," "happy ending," and "humping." 

Consumerism

The show is inspired by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's cameos on Conan O'Brien's late-night shows, so fans might want to check out clips of his other work. Some brand names are visible, such as Corn Flakes. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Triumph is usually seen with an unlit cigar in his mouth. Adults are shown drinking and, in one case, snorting drugs. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Jack and Triumph Show is an Adult Swim sitcom centered on Triumph the Insult Comic Dog of Conan O'Brien fame. The show exists mostly as a forum for Triumph's patented mockery, aimed most harshly at a rotating cast of celebrities such as Hulk Hogan and Joey Fatone. There's a lot of strong language here: "A--hole," "s--t," and "bitch" are frequent flyers, and only "f--k" is edited. The show also relies on ribald sexual references, so you'll hear about balls, sex toys, necrophilia, oral sex (referred to as "blowing"), and happy endings, plus body parts such as testicles and vaginas. Drinking, smoking (Triumph is rarely without his cigar), and doing drugs are part of the gag, too. 

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What's the story?

THE JACK AND TRIUMPH SHOW stars Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (voiced by Robert Smigel) as the constant companion of former child star Jack (Jack McBrayer), years after the two starred in a Lassie-inspired drama called Triumph's Boy. After the show ended, Jack fell victim to Hollywood temptations such as drugs and alcohol, and his parents squandered his earnings, so he's taken in by his TV mom, June (June Squibb), who introduces him to a normal life. Unbeknownst to Jack, she dumps Triumph on the side of a road half a continent away to get the insult-hurling sidekick out of Jack's life, but 15 years later, he shows up on their doorstep again, determined to get Jack back into show business. 

Is it any good?

Triumph was a hit on Conan O'Brien's late-night shows, raking in the laughs with Smigel's mocking diatribe on anyone and everyone in the roaming canine's path. Smigel's ad-lib style is no less sharp or scathing in this show, but the sitcom format really constricts how much of it he can do since most of the show is scripted. The result is an awkward blend of Jack's wide-eyed innocence, Triumph's manipulative schemes, and a parade of mostly B-list celebrities who often serve as targets for the dog's insults.

Strong language and ubiquitous sexual references ensure this isn't something you want your tweens watching, but mature teens might enjoy Triumph's roast-style digs at his victims. If yours do watch, then use the opening to talk about bullying issues, since Triumph's mannerisms would garner entirely different responses in the real world than they do on TV. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about this show's comedy. Do your teens think Triumph's style is funny? Why would a celebrity agree to be part of this kind of project? Do you think any celebrities regret putting a target on themselves like this? 

  • Is this sitcom a good fit for this brand of humor? Are Triumph's costars compelling? What might have been done differently to make the show more watchable?

  • Is bullying an issue your teens see or hear about among their peers? What would the response be to someone saying the kinds of things Triumph does to a classmate? Why is bullying so closely monitored these days? 

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love silly comedy

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