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The Jim Gaffigan Show
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 Jim Gaffigan Show is loosely based on the real-life family of its star, comedian Jim Gaffigan, focusing on the highs and lows of marriage, fatherhood, and raising five kids in a small New York City apartment. You'll hear words such as "ass," "whore," and "bitch," along with light sexual innuendo and body-part humor (featuring words such as "penis" and "vagina"). You'll also see some physical comedy (pushing, fighting) and social drinking.
What's the story?
THE JIM GAFFIGAN SHOW is a single-camera comedy that's loosely based on the life of stand-up comic Jim Gaffigan, a married father of five children who mines his personal life for new material. When his wife (Ashley Williams) leaves him in charge, he's totally on it. But Dad's way of doing things is decidedly different.
Is it any good?
Jim Gaffigan has built his career on observational comedy that's relatively free of strong language, paving the way for talk-show appearances, social media shares, and, now, situational comedy. But if you're not a huge fan of his shtick or don't find him and his family super relatable, this subtle sitcom about marriage and urban parenting might not pack enough laughs to keep you coming back.
One of the more interesting aspects of The Jim Gaffigan Show is not that it's based on Gaffigan’s actual life as a working comedian and father of five but rather that it’s written and produced by his actual wife, Jeannie (portrayed on the show by actress Ashley Williams), who works as his real-life comedy partner. The fact that the fictional Jeannie works as a full-time, stay-at-home mom rather than Jim's business partner is an interesting edit that shifts the focus squarely on Jim. But, though the show might be merely "inspired" by real life, one could argue that Gaffigan's real life would be a lot more inspiring.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about modern parenting and how it's typically portrayed in movies and television. How does Jim compare with other TV dads? Does The Jim Gaffigan Show challenge any existing stereotypes about dads and parenting, or does it tend to reinforce them?
What are the pros (and cons) of single-camera comedies? How differently would The Jim Gaffigan Show play if it were a more traditional, multi-camera comedy such as Everybody Loves Raymond or The King of Queens? Which type do you prefer?
Can comedy be funny, even if it's relatively "clean"? How does Gaffigan's shtick compare to his contemporaries, and does it work?