White Gold

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
White Gold TV Poster Image
Retro '80s British comedy centers on swaggering salesmen.

Parents say

Not yet rated

Kids say

Not yet rated

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

While the criminals can be charming, there aren't many positive messages about their thieving lifestyle and its aftermath.

Positive role models & representations

These are sleazy dudes leading sleazy lives, and their laddish behavior is treated with an affectionate smirk.

Violence

Some punches are thrown, there's a gangster storyline that leads to some kicks to the groin.

Sex

Not much nudity is shown, but there's a ton of innuendo and crass talk around the subject, plus simulated sex acts (mostly clothed).

Language

Pretty much every swear under the sun, including "f--k," "s--t," plus some unique British varietals.

Consumerism

BMW and Ford are mentioned. Other brands referred to are mostly '80s throwbacks like Atari.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

The characters are sales execs who do a great deal of drinking, smoking, and drugging.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that White Gold is a series about salesmen who drink heavily, cheat on their wives, and swindle innocent people out of their life savings. There's a ton of graphic sex talk, and some racy sex scenes to boot. One character takes topless photos of a 16-year-old girl (no nudity is actually shown). Lots of criminal and sleazy behavior makes this a better choice for grown-ups.

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What's the story?

WHITE GOLD is a British comedy series set in the 1980s that follows the misadventures of a crew of PVC double-glazing salesmen in Essex. The team is headed by cocky wannabe entrepreneur Vincent Swan (Ed Westwick), who oversees the wishy-washy failed musician Martin Lavender (Joe Thomas) and unscrupulous prankster Brian Fitzpatrick (James Buckley). The product they sell is decidedly low-rent (like their bad suits and mustaches), and their sales tactics rip off elderly pensioners with no shame whatsoever, but they see themselves as slick bad boys at the top of their game. In actuality, they're laughable losers and horrible influences on each other, who get mixed up in all kinds of criminal and/or interpersonal troubles both at work and at home. While the show is a comedy, there's a fair bit of drama as well, as Vincent juggles multiple mistresses and implodes his marriage, which has lasting repercussions on his family and the business.

Is it any good?

One would be hard-pressed to watch this series and not immediately think of Leonardo DiCaprio's audacious portrayal of scumbag stockbroker Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. This isn't only because Westwick's Vincent Swan is constantly breaking the fourth wall and making snarky asides to the audience. The hairspray-addicted Swan has a lot in common with Belfort, in that he's a quick-thinking pretty boy who's full of bravado (as well as drugs ... lots of drugs). Like Belfort, he has no qualms about ripping people off and sees himself as being above "the plebs" in life, happy as a clam to step all over the less-thans on his way to the top. He's not likable, exactly, but Westwick commits so completely to the role that it's hard not to keep watching this handsome, magnetic super-jerk.

Thomas and Buckley (both from The Inbetweeners) have great comedic chemistry as his underlings, and Lauren O'Rourke is hilarious as their daffy office assistant, Carol. For fans of British comedy, or for viewers who want to see Westwick do an '80s-style twist on his Gossip Girl character, Chuck Bass (but with the actor's natural accent this time), White Gold is worth a watch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of a character like Vincent Swan -- an antihero. Why do people enjoy watching shows like White Gold about people who do bad things?

  • Vincent Swan is focused on making as much money as he can, whatever the cost. Does the money make him happy? How does his quest for financial success jeopardize his family life?

TV details

For kids who love British TV

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