Whose Line Is It Anyway?

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Whose Line Is It Anyway? TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Hilarious improv comedy has some risque stuff.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 31 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Actors' imitations of celebrities and each other can be stereotypical. Body size, excess (or lack of) hair, stature, and other physical characteristics can take a beating, as can lifestyle choices, faith, and cultural markers. None of the content is meant to be malicious, and everyone gets a good laugh from it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The cast members' diverse talents are on display in every episode, and they aren't afraid of setting up jokes at their own expense.

Violence

Mock scuffles and injuries are common in the skits, and they're all staged for laughs. Some games/skits occasionally involve gross or cringe-inducing footage (for example, an up-close view of dental surgery, with a little blood).

Sex

Innuendos and sex-related physical comedy are a central theme of the show. Use of "pornography" as a media genre in improv games is common, as are motions that suggest exposed genitalia, breasts, and butts. Some games lead to physical contact between the players, and they're adept at making such exchanges seem sexually motivated.

Language

Occasional usage of words like "damn," "hell," and "my God." Stronger ones like "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.

Consumerism

Later episodes see the inclusion of guest stars where audience members' participation used to be, and when visitors like Kevin McHale and Lauren Cohan stop by, their TV projects get a few plugs as well.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer and wine bottles appear occasionally as props, and the cast members sometimes drink from them in skits and act like they're drunk. The same goes for drugs; use is implied, but in a comical way.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Whose Line Is It Anyway? is an improvisational comedy series whose cast members frequently use sexual innuendo, body part references, racial and gender stereotyping, and physical attributes like weight, hair loss, and stature for jokes. Many of the games encourage physical interplay, so there are many instances of suggestive positions that get laughs as well. Language is also a concern, with "f--k" and "s--t" bleeped, but lighter fare like "hell" and "damn" audible. Because it's unscripted, there's no telling what's around the corner in any of the improv games, and some of the content is too mature for tweens. The series has been through two American incarnations (following the British original from the '90s), with progressively looser standards of what's acceptable content. The bottom line? This hilarious show is well worth your time, but you'll want to screen each episode's subject matter if you're hoping to watch with your tweens.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymercymade8 . June 11, 2018

Could be a family favorite if there wasn't so much sexual talk

This show is hilarious but isn't appropiate for little ears. The dirty jokes are really unnecessary. Why can't people just be funny & family... Continue reading
Adult Written byJohn Gormley G. May 17, 2018

Fantastic show, goofy and hilarious.

Most of this so is quick off the cuff gags. A few innuendos here and there - but nothing too extreme. All strong language is bleeped out on the US airing of the... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byManandtnt July 17, 2016

So, so good, but fairly edgy

This is one of the funniest tv shows I have ever seen. With that said, it is improvised and subject matter can easily become innapropriate. It is a network show... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byNvG Nick January 21, 2016

Whose Line Is It Anyway? Review

Fan of improv? Then you'll love Whose Line Is It Anyway?. Always dirty, always crude, and ALWAYS funny.

What's the story?

WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? is a long-running improv comedy series that originated in Britain before being imported to the U.S. for a makeover and running for eight years with host Drew Carey. The most recent version features Aisha Tyler at the helm. The show features a cast of four comedians who play improv games like "Props," "Scenes From a Hat," "Party Quirks," "Duet," and "Sideways Scene," usually from thematic suggestions from the live studio audience and occasionally involving a few lucky participants. Longtime cast members Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady are joined by a rotating line-up of guest performers in the latest version of the series.

Is it any good?

Riotously funny and unpredictable at every turn, Whose Line Is It Anyway? continuously sets new standards for comedy. Whether you're watching 20-year-old British episodes or brand-new American ones, the off-the-cuff laughs are guaranteed to amuse. There's no faking the brilliance of these performers, and because the games and set-ups change each episode, there's nothing redundant about the content.

Not surprisingly, though, this kind of entertainment often comes at the cost of some pretty mature subject matter, and the mostly male cast has a lot of fun working in allusions to penis and breast size, sexual orientation, and a host of other topics that will raise some eyebrows, not to mention the implications of games that put the performers in compromising physical positions. Exercise caution with regard to your tweens, but for older teens and other adults, it's hard to beat this laugh-out-loud classic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the issue of what stretches the boundaries of comedy. When is a joke taken too far? Why is sexual comedy so enticing to the actors -- and the audience?

  • Is stereotyping a necessary evil in comedy? Where is the line between funny and hurtful, especially when someone is the subject of impersonation?

  • What accounts for a show's sustainability? Does this series' style have a longer lifespan than the average sitcom does? If so, why? How are the comedians able to keep the jokes so fresh?

TV details

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