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 Kominsky Method is a sitcom about an aging actor created by Chuck Lorre, the mind behind The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly. It stars Michael Douglas as acting teacher Sandy Kominsky and Alan Arkin as his best friend. It's intended for older viewers, and gears most of its humor at or toward people who are nearing or past retirement, which unfortunately includes plenty of jokes with shades of racism and homophobia. Other subjects include dating older women, Arkin's character dealing with the loss of his wife, and prostate trouble. In other words, there's not a lot of material here that's relatable for younger viewers.
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What's the story?
In THE KOMINSKY METHOD, Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas) runs an acting school with the help of his daughter, Mindy (Sarah Baker). Kominsky and his best friend and agent, Norman (Alan Arkin), deal with the pitfalls of aging, as Kominsky pursues romance with one of his students (Nancy Travis).
Is it any good?
This is a well-made show with high production value and a killer cast that keeps surprising and delighting with fun cameos and guest stars. The problem? It makes certain assumptions about its audience demographic (older folks) and then panders to it on the lowest level. If that only meant Jay Leno cameos and prostate jokes, that would be one thing, but when The Kominsky Method takes cheap shots at, for example, "ethnic" casting on sitcoms or LGBTQ people (e.g., during a prostate exam, the doctor jokes that "not even gays like this"), the assumption is that the show's audience is not only old, but out of touch, racist, and homophobic.
And when the show does try to have a social conscience, like when Kominsky's students argue about whether it's appropriate for a white actor to play a black character, their opinions are pithily dismissed as unimportant. This is a show content to live inside its own retrograde bubble, and it mistakenly thinks its audience lives there too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to get older. How does Sandy Kominsky's age affect his relationships with his daughter, his students, and his friends? How does it affect his body?
What does acting mean to Kominsky? What values does he talk about to his acting class?
What is Kominsky afraid of? How do his fears affect his relationships with his family and friends?
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