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The Wanda Sykes Show
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 comedy/variety/talk series includes sharp political commentary that reflects host Wanda Sykes’ strongly anti-conservative point of view. There's also some racially motivated humor (like references to “white folks” and Asian body parts) and subtle references to Sykes’ homosexuality. Expect plenty of salty language (though the strongest words, like “s--t” and “f--k,” are bleeped), strong sexual innuendo (including skits about sex toys and regular appearances by a drag queen), and references to violent acts like rape, stealing, and torture. Guests (all of age) are shown drinking during interviews; some jokes include references to drugs.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE WANDA SYKES SHOW, actress/comedienne Wanda Sykes -- with the help of comedian Keith Richardson and Portia the Drag Queen -- offers her opinions about contemporary politics, racial issues, and popular culture. Each episode is a mix of stand-up comedy routines, satirical sketches, and interviews with celebrity guest panels seated at “Wanda’s Bar." Segments like “Wandarama” and “Inappropriate Games” are also part of the entertainment.
Is it any good?
The series creates an awkward tension as it attempts to combine political satire with an edited version of Sykes’ trademark off-color humor. While some of her stand-up routines and pre-recorded skits have a few funny moments, most of the show is uncomfortably slow as Sykes attempts to deliver jokes in a style that doesn’t match her personality.
Despite Sykes’ restraint, the show’s attempts at pushing network TV boundaries -- by featuring a transgendered personality and offering stereotypical racial commentary -- are obvious. Sykes' anti-conservative point of view is also pretty clear. It’s definitely edgy, but as far as late-night comedy goes, it somehow misses the mark.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about using a TV show to promote a specific political point of view. Do you think Sykes’ jokes about political figures and their beliefs are appropriate?
Where do you draw the line between funny and offensive? Are stereotypes ever appropriate, even when used jokingly? What if they're being used to make a larger point?
Do you think certain "target" audiences will view this show differently than other viewers from other racial/ethnic groups? Why or why not?