Parents' Guide to

Tracey Ullman's State of the Union

By Kari Croop, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Satire's cynical jokes are meant for adults.

TV Showtime Comedy 2008
Tracey Ullman's State of the Union Poster Image

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On one hand, State of the Union is a smartly crafted satire that holds a mirror up to the ridiculousness of a modern age in which celebrity worship is at an all-time high and critical thinking is at an all-time low. But on the other hand, it's essentially a random showcase of outlandish characters that run the risk of becoming tiresome. A few of Ullman's impersonations are spot-on and genuinely hilarious (her Renee Zellweger is laugh-out-loud funny), but others (like an Indian pharmacist who regularly breaks into Bollywood-style song-and-dance routines) are one-dimensional and, frankly, kind of lame.

In terms of content, Ullman seems to be pandering a bit to the United States' political elite. (After all, what percentage of Americans could actually identify left-leaning blogger Arianna Huffington -- one of Ullman's impersonations that gets an awful lot of screen time -- in a police line-up?) Ullman also relies a bit too much on the antics of tabloid darlings like Lindsay Lohan's club-hopping mom, Dina, for cheap laughs. But the topical nature of the show's humor and its potential to stir viewers to think help propel it well above purely mindless fare.

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