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 Last O.G. is a comedy series about ex-con Tray Barker (Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock) who -- after 15 years in prison -- struggles to adjust to life in a now-unrecognizable and highly gentrified Brooklyn. There's a near-endless stream of four-letter words (sometimes bleeped, often not) and more than a few jokes that play with racial stereotypes. Sexual references are frequent and blunt, though not quite as extreme as what you'd hear in Morgan's standup comedy routines. Adults are seen drinking booze, and weed and hard drugs are mentioned (Tray did his time for dealing crack). Definitely not for young ones.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
THE LAST O.G. stars Tracy Morgan as former crack dealer Tray, who emerges from a 15-year stint in prison as a changed man who wants nothing more than to reconnect with his old girlfriend Shay (Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip) and rebuild his life. He's in for a rude awakening when he finds the back-in-the-day Brooklyn he knew swallowed up by gourmet coffee shops and brunch-happy hipsters with selfie sticks. To make matters worse, the "love of his life" has moved on: She's now married (to a "Connecticut-looking" white guy, no less) and living in a fancy brownstone, working at a business of her own and raising the 15-year-old twins Tray never knew he'd fathered. Tray tries to connect with his kids and maybe win over his ex while navigating a frustrating new job, a less-than-ideal living situation, and some potential conflict with certain figures from his past.
Is it any good?
This series is a raunchy, funny, and unexpectedly sweet comeback vehicle for Morgan, who has been largely absent from show business since he sustained a traumatic brain injury in a brutal accident in 2014. He's in fine form here, and shows off not only the screwball comedy chops he's known for, but also moments of tender-hearted sincerity we haven't really seen from him in the past. Morgan's chemistry with Haddish is convincing, and she does a good job shifting between the Shay of old -- who once threw a brick through a cop car's windshield to prove her love -- and the newly bougie "Shannon," as she's now calling herself. The Last O.G., however, is clearly Morgan's chance to shine.
The penis jokes are copious and can be repetitive, especially when coming from Cedric the Entertainer's character Mullins, who runs the halfway house Tray lives in and who considers himself a natural comedian (no one else thinks he's funny). But even Mullins is given some depth and heart, and it's that overall sense of warmth that helps elevate the show and smooth it's rougher edges. Yes, the humor more than occasionally strays into crassness (as he did on 30 Rock, Morgan's character makes an awful lot of lewd jokes about getting women pregnant), but Tray isn't at all the one-note caricature you might expect. If you can handle the shifts in tone and some potentially offensive humor, The Last O.G. is a pretty satisfying ride.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Last O.G. portrays the life of a former drug dealer. Does it seem like the show is glamorizing drug dealing or crime? Do the consequences Tray faces seem appropriate, and does it seem like he has learned from them? Why is this important?
In many ways, The Last O.G. is a classic fish-out-of-water tale, as an out-of-touch Tray tries to adjust to his new life post-prison. What other shows and films can you think of that use this formula to elicit laughs?
For kids who love comedy
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