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 this animated series is aimed at adults and contains an array of unbleeped swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k") and other iffy words most parents wouldn't want their kids using (for example, "bollocks," "wanker," and "knob" -- basically, British slang for "balls," "idiot," and "penis"). Sexual content is played for humor, and there's some cartoonish violence, too, including a few mildly bloody incidents. Two of the characters routinely gang up on the other and generally insult him the entire episode, calling him a "little bald Manc twat" or a "round-headed buffoon," etc. Some of the speakers' accents might be difficult to understand.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Created from edited-down conversations that originally aired on satellite radio and, later, on a series of popular podcasts, THE RICKY GERVAIS SHOW throws co-hosts Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and Karl Pilkington into a suspended state of animation and captures their musings on a variety of random topics -- from population control to the prowess of chimpanzees. Gervais and Merchant are best known for dreaming up the hit British sitcom The Office, which spawned an Emmy-winning American series of the same name. Pilkington originally worked with Gervais and Merchant as an off-air radio producer before he became an on-air personality.
Is it any good?
In the first episode of The Ricky Gervais Show, Karl Pilkington is talking about a monkey who single-handedly launched a rocketship when an incredulous Ricky Gervais blurts out, "Karl, you are living in a cartoon world!" And maybe that's why someone thought animating Karl's imagination would make good television -- or at least a good cartoon. The animation style is reminiscent of old Jay Ward shorts of the 1960s (think The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show's "Fractured Fairy Tales"), and it does, at the very least, give the viewer something to look at while Karl rambles on with his stories and misguided theories.
That said, it will take a real fan of these three to truly love this series; anyone else will be mildly perplexed at best. But whatever you make of it, it's not like the narrator at the beginning of each episode (who calmly explains that you're about to see one of a series of "pointless conversations" recorded over the past few years) didn't warn you. Besides, Gervais and Co. already know their show has no real purpose -- or any kind of plot, for that matter. But they still think you might want to see it. So there's that.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's format and whether or not it works. For kids or parents who have listened to the original podcasts: Does the series work better as a cartoon, or was it funnier when you only had the audio and had to provide your own visuals? Why do you think Gervais essentially re-released something that already existed, just in a different form?
In terms of sexual content and cartoon violence, does the series ever go too far? Do you consider Ricky and Stephen's constant pecking at Karl a milder form of violence? Does it qualify as bullying -- and do you think Karl is in on the joke?