The Ricky Gervais Show

 
Animated series is an acquired (and foul-mouthed) taste.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The whole point of the show is to make fun of Karl and tear apart his musings on a variety of topics he doesn't really understand. But the insults often cross the line between playful and demoralizing.

Positive role models

Karl tends to be uninformed when it comes to most topics and sometimes makes sweeping generalizations about people of other ethnicities. Bookish foils Ricky and Stephen balance him out with logic and reason ... but they also go out of their way to insult his appearance and belittle his opinions.

Violence

Cartoonish violence is strange but rarely bloody: an elderly woman gets stabbed in the head with a needle, or a live fetus is found incubating in a drawer, etc. Sometimes, a violent incident is described rather than illustrated, such as a story about chimps that chewed off a man's face and genitals.

Sex

Some stories are centered on sexual topics or contain sexual humor, such as an anecote about nudist colonies or a machine that simultes sexual intercourse. You might hear terms like "butt plugs" or "robotic cock." There are a few bare, albeit animated, buttocks.

Language

Since it's pay cable, "s--t" and "f--k" are unbleeped, along with more descriptive words like "bollocks," "wanker" and "c--k." There's also other British slang parents might not recognize, including "Manc" (slang for a person from Manchester, England), "faffin'" (goofing around) and "knob" (penis). Some of the speakers' accents might be difficult to understand.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few stories have to do with bars/pubs or drinking alcohol, mostly beer.

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant
Network:HBO
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-MA

This review of The Ricky Gervais Show was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 17 years old Written byTheTrillonaire July 5, 2013
age 16+
 

Iffy for 16+

Too Foul Mouthed. Adults Only.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 9 years old August 31, 2012
age 18+
 

NO NO!

DON'T EVER WATCH THIS CARTOON!
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 8 years old July 2, 2011
age 15+
 

15+

bad language
What other families should know
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass