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 Totally Biased is a late-night talk show featuring comedian W. Kamau Bell's trademark sharp humor as he discusses various (and often controversial) subjects. It contains some strong language ("pissed," "s--t"), racial epithets (including the "N" word), and sexual references. There are lots of discussions about race/ethnicity and other issues that are potentially empowering, but their significance may not be easily understood by younger or less mature viewers.
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What's the story?
TOTALLY BIASED WITH W. KAMAU BELL features the comedian as he offers his thoughts about issues and events taking place around the country. The series, which is co-executively produced by Chris Rock, features Bell offering his biting commentary about race, religion, politics, and popular culture, as well as humorous interview sketches filmed at various locations around New York City. Video clips of recent news events are also shown. Towards the end of each episode, the cable-TV host interviews a special guest, including The Daily Show correspondent John Oliver, and comedians like Lewis Black and Wanda Sykes.
Is it any good?
Totally Biased contains some edgy -- but entertaining -- discussions about some controversial issues with a liberal bent. But while it generates some laughs, it lacks some of the high-quality writing and well-timed comments that cable shows like The Daily Show and Real Time With Bill Maher are known for. As a result, some of the humor falls a little flat, while other moments are just plain awkward.
It's not as risqué as some other late-night cable talk shows, but the host's unapologetically blunt discussions about race and ethnicity (which is sometimes punctuated by the use of the "N" word) may make some viewers uncomfortable. Nonetheless, the series is a platform for discussing these issues from a point of view that some feel is ignored by the media. There are some empowering messages here, but they will likely be best appreciated by more mature viewers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how television is used to talk about contemporary issues. Is a talk show an appropriate format to discuss controversial issues, like race or religion? Do you think a talk show host's job is to be an advocate for an issue or good role model for a community?
Is using stereotypes and/or racial epithets an appropriate way of discussing differences between various races and/or ethnic communities? What if a community embraces the stereotype as an acceptable way of describing themselves?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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