W/Bob & David

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
W/Bob & David TV Poster Image
Language, ticklish topics tackled in absurdist sketch show.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Human foibles are mocked, mostly in an absurd and not a harsh or unkind style. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The show is too silly to provide realistic role models, but it's nice that the largely male and all-white main cast doesn't mock women or people of color in its skits. Female roles are played by women, not men in drag as on some comedy shows. 

Violence

Men jokingly threaten to punch each other; death is sometimes made light of, as when a character wanders onto a busy street and is hit by a car offscreen. 

Sex

Some off-color references to sex and masturbation. 

Language

Frequent cursing, usually in jest: "a--hole," "f--k," "hell," "damn." Jokes mock religion and other sensitive topics. Women are called "c--t" in one sketch (mocking the use of the word). 

Consumerism

Real pop-culture personalities (the Beatles) and items (Prilosec) are lampooned. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink cans of beer in a sketch about playing cards; no one acts drunk. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that W/Bob & David is an absurdist sketch comedy show featuring the former stars of '90s cult hit Mr. Show. Many of the skits stray into potentially sensitive areas, targeting religion, violence, race, and sex. Expect off-color references to sex, bodily functions, and masturbation, as well as frequent cursing, including insults ("a--hole") and other curses ("f--k," "s--t," "damn"). Characters tell each other to "shut up" and threaten to punch each other (no one does); death is an occasional topic for laughs, as when a character is hit and killed by a car offscreen. Characters drink beer on-screen, although no one acts drunk. The humor is largely absurd and silly, but kids won't get a lot of the jokes, centering as they do on topics mostly adults, not kids, will find funny: no-nonsense judge shows on television, a legendary lost Beatle, a freelance Pope who does most of his blessings from home. 

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What's the story?

Seventeen years after Mr. Show left HBO, David Cross and Bob Odenkirk are back in W/BOB & DAVID, a half-hour sketch show with shorts that take on Cross and Odenkirk's multitudinous preoccupations, from kosher food to YouTube videos to the viability of time machines. Joining Bob and David are comedy-buddy guest stars such as Keegan-Michael Key and Jeffrey Tambor, as well as the entire Mr. Show regular cast, reunited, including John EnnisTom Kenny, Jill Talley, Jay Johnston, Paul F. Tompkins, and Brian Posehn.

Is it any good?

Profoundly silly, absurd, and at times even thought-provoking, Cross and Odenkirk's sketches retain the edge Mr. Show fans will remember, and uninitiated fans of the ridiculous will quickly warm to them. As on the long-past but much-beloved Mr. Show, each half-hour episode of W/Bob & David begins with Odenkirk and Cross onstage in front of an audience telling a few jokes or doing a sketch live onstage. Soon that segues into a series of wildly different, but interconnected, sketches that target topics such as cops who gossip about each other to the suspect they're interrogating or a group of poker buddies who make a bunch of ridiculous New Year's resolutions (such as starting their own cell-phone company and becoming a well-respected Hollywood director) that quickly come true. It's all more "hmm" than "HA!" but that's as Mr. Show ever was, where every laugh was generally accompanied by a crinkled-up "huh?" brow and then followed by "Those guys are weird." They still are! But kids probably won't find them funny -- the humor will be more appreciated by older teens and parents. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why a lot of comedy shows aren't that diverse. What shows can you name that have mostly female casts or casts with mainly people of color? 

  • What type of audience is W/Bob & David aimed at? Describe the audience for this show. How can you tell this is the group this show is targeting? 

  • What makes jokes funny? What kind of humor strikes your funny bone?

TV details

For kids who love sketch comedy

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