Undateable

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Undateable TV Poster Image
Strong sexual overtones dominate mediocre comedy.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Friendship develops among an unlikely group of unique personalities, and it has a positive influence on each one in a different way. One-liners poke fun at a racial divide, homosexuality, gender inequality, and other social issues in nonthreatening ways as they relate to characters who are black, gay, and chauvinistic. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

There's good and bad in each character, but the negative qualities are meant to be funny rather than offensive. Danny's an unapologetic player who enjoys sex with no strings attached; Burski tells it like it is even when his biased views land him in hot water; Leslie's happy to trade some bedroom time to get back in the dating game. On the flip side, though, they're all searching for something that's missing from their lives and lean on each other when things go awry.

Violence
Sex

Casual sex is a way of life for Danny, as is evidenced by the parade of one-night partners in and out of his house. Sexual humor brims with slang such as "bang her," "tea-bag," "cans," and "noodle" and numerous allusions to the act itself. Anatomical references include "penis" and "uterus." Expect to hear some details about the characters' preferences and experiences in bed as well. 

Language

"Bitch," "ass," and "damn" are used occasionally. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The show is often set in Justin's bar, so adults drink beer and wine on-screen. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Undateable leans heavily on sexual comedy for laughs, and its mature content isn't appropriate for younger teens. It's implied that many of the characters' quirky personality traits -- neediness, shyness, and strong opinions -- are detrimental to potential relationships, and the story's frontman revels in his life of no-strings-attached sex. Expect to hear a lot of bedroom slang ("banging" and "tea-bag," for instance) as well as anatomical references such as "penis" and "cans." There's a fair amount of drinking. Although none of the characters stands out for his or her model behavior, as a unit they have an odd appeal as their friendships develop and they support each other. 

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What's the story?

When Danny Burton (Chris D'Elia) loses yet another roommate to the dreaded institution of marriage, he falls in with a new group of friends struggling to succeed in the competitive dating market. Himself a natural ladies' man with no desire for meaningful attachments, Danny discovers his polar opposite in Justin (Brent Morin), a structured bar owner who just wants to meet "the one." Despite their differences, the two strike up an unexpected friendship that encompasses Justin's similarly unlucky-in-love buddies -- Shelly (Ron Funches), Burski (Rick Glassman), and Brett (David Fynn) -- as well as Danny's newly divorced sister, Leslie (Bianca Kajlich). What begins as a relationship of convenience evolves into an all-out self-help group as these new friends muddle through the dating life (or the lack thereof) alongside each other.

Is it any good?

Part Friends, part Cheers, UNDATEABLE revisits well-worn comedy themes in its take on the agony of dating and relationships. There's nothing groundbreaking about the show, whose typecast characters -- the lovably uncertain gay guy, the obnoxious and opinionated loudmouth, and the tightly wound Type-A personality -- serve more to perpetuate stereotypes than to challenge them. Led by funny man Chris D'Elia, the cast is talented -- that's never in question -- but the show's trite writing and stale laughs sometimes feel like a platform for their individual comedy performances rather than a venue for a quality joint effort.

As for the show's content, families have reason to be guarded. Sexual humor plays a big role in the laughs, and the show pushes the envelope a bit with hard-to-miss references to bedroom habits (Danny jokes about having a "safe word" for rough play; there are "tea-bag" cracks, gay jokes, and lots of slang terms for most body parts) that may or may not be new to some teens. Sex aside, the show also oversimplifies the complicated nature of relationships and takes a very forgiving (even, at times, positive) view of the kinds of casual encounters that Danny revels in. Adults may see the humor in this kind of thing, but its mixed messages will have a different impact on teens. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the characters seem realistic. Are their concerns relatable? Do their actions yield the kinds of repercussions they would in the real world? Why are they written this way? 

  • Teens: How has the media's tolerance for edgy content regarding sex, violence, and language changed in recent years? Does greater leniency toward this kind of subject matter reflect what's happening in society as a whole? What does this say about us and our priorities? 

  • This show pokes fun of the characters' oddities that seem to exclude them from the dating climate. Do your teens agree with the premise that some people are undateable?

TV details

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