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 Tonight Show, like most late-night talk shows, is aimed at adults rather than kids. Though there's no explicit sex, violence, swearing, or drugs, there are plenty of jokes and stories about all of the above. The host and his guests are adults talking to adults, and kids are unlikely to understand many of the comments -- and, given the show's late-night time slot, they should probably be asleep anyway (though that doesn't mean they won't catch up via DVR or online clips, of course). Each show's appropriateness largely depends on the guests being featured that night, and, though Fallon is a sweet and silly host, topics may veer into areas parents would rather kids not explore, though his antics give his show more kid and teen appeal than most gabfests.
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What's the story?
With Jay Leno retiring in 2014, the former host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon sits down in the host's chair on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JIMMY FALLON. In many ways, Fallon maintains the same time-tested formula as his long line of illustrious predecessors, starting with a nightly monologue poking fun at the news of the day, moving on to a goofy skit or two, and then introducing a celebrity guest with a product to plug. Fallon also imports some of his old show's features, such as announcer Steve Higgins and groovy house band, The Roots with bandleader Questlove. The Tonight Show has been on the air for more than five decades.
Is it any good?
Jay Leno maintained impressive ratings throughout his late-night tenure, but his gentle jibes about the topical matters and celebrity foibles were always more popular with Baby Boomers than younger viewers. Thus NBC seems to be courting a younger crowd by replacing Leno with Fallon, whose stock in trade on his own late-night show were what became viral video phenoms, such as the History of Rap series with Justin Timberlake or the hard-hitting look at the Evolution of Mom Dancing with Michelle Obama.
Fallon's showman's razzle-dazzle zeal is also unique among talk-show hosts and is evident in his sit-ins with The Roots, as well as long-running gags such as dance contests with celebs including Sam Rockwell and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But all in all, his show is largely a continuation of The Tonight Show that came before: a comfortable digestion of the day's events that's there when you need it, missable when you gotta get to bed early, but always a reliable source of at least a few chuckles.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about celebrity culture. The show's guests include lots of celebrities, who are usually promoting their latest projects. Do you think these interviews make stars seem more human? Does the host ever seem to be fawning over his famous guests?
Why have silly and outrageous antics become standard fare on late-night TV? Do you think these bits are ever so silly that they're no longer funny? Which ones make you laugh, which ones make you groan, and why?
The Tonight Show has had some infamous staffing conflicts over the years, including the most recent, when NBC ousted Conan O'Brien from The Tonight Show and replaced him in 2010 with Jay Leno. Did that scandal hang heavy over Leno's show? Will it affect Fallon's version?
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