Parents' Guide to

The Thick of It

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

British government satire has dry wit and strong vocab.

The Thick of It Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 18+
age 16+

OK for older teens and up

The Thick of It is a biting satire of the British political system with some of the best writing (though much of the dialogue is actually improvised) I've seen on TV in a long time. A lot of attention is given to the swearing in this show, but for once the language has a valid reason for use. 99.99% of the foul language is uttered by Malcolm Tucker, probably the most remarkable political anti-hero on TV. The thing about Tucker is he voices what many would like to voice in the workplace but cannot even dare think of doing so. And he is often in the right, that is the thing. When he swears a blue streak at somebody for messing up, they usually deserve it. And I've seen real-life Malcolms at my work and to be frank, he sounds like a Teletubbie compared to what I've heard in the workplace. I rated this at 16 and up because frankly by that age most kids are using far worse language and by that age most should be able to grasp the complexities of politics and workplace relationships featured here. Other than in the language, sex is nonexistent in this show (maybe some innuendo here and there; this is notwithstanding sexual references in the language, however none of that is intended to be taken literally, either by the characters or by the audience), and violence is rare (no more than fisticuffs). I also highly recommend the Oscar-nominated (for its screenplay) film In the Loop, which is an adaptation of this series featuring Peter Capaldi reprising Malcolm Tucker. If I had to offer a warning it's that there might be those who blindly let their kids watch this because it has Peter Capaldi in it and of course Capaldi is Doctor Who now, so some might think everything he does is family friendly. Doing so without doing research is as bad an idea as letting kids watch Secret Diary of a Call Girl or sense8 because Rose Tyler and Martha Jones from Doctor Who are in those shows and assuming they're just as family-friendly. Incidentally the main site review of this show is incorrect - none of the swearing is censored, at least not in the version that aired on the BBC or is now available on DVD worldwide. Maybe some American broadcast muted it? Though if they did then most of Capaldi's performance must have resembled a mime. I agree with others that it needs 5-bullets for language. It is one of the only TV series I've ever seen in which the female C-word is actually used. That's enough to make it 5 bullets right there.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (6 ):

The comedy series, which is is produced in a mock-documentary style, offers a satirical look into the world of British politics, and how British political leaders strive to control the information to make them look good in the media. The way specific political races are woven into its fictitious plot lines is also very clever.

It's entertaining, but viewers unfamiliar with British government and politics may find some of what they discuss here a bit confusing. Others may find the comedic style, which relies heavily on dry wit, very different from what they are used to. But if you are looking for a well-written and well-produced British satire, this one definitely fits the bill.

TV Details

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