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You, Me and the Apocalypse
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that You, Me and the Apocalypse is a sci-fi comedy about the end of the world and a ragtag group of survivors. The mood is light and satirical, but the premise may scare young kids, as will CGI imagery of a giant comet hurtling toward Earth and ensuing riots with fires, desperate people running back and forth, sirens, burned-out buildings, and descriptions of environmental destruction. Some action takes place in a prison; woman are shot from a tower and fall dead (with no blood), and one woman knocks another unconscious. Expect racial slurs -- a white-supremacist character calls a group of Latinas "donkey bangers" -- and some cursing (infrequent "hell" and "damn") and vulgar language: "dicks," "douche bag," "turd." A priest smokes cigarettes on-screen. The apocalypse has a religious aspect to it; this may alarm young pious viewers in particular.
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What's the story?
What if the end of the world were coming -- and you had 34 days to do everything you ever wanted before the end? That's the question asked by YOU, ME AND THE APOCALYPSE, a wry comedy about the end of the human race and what comes next. As the news spreads about the comet on a collision course with earth, a diverse group of characters from different parts of the world engage in their own desperate quests. In Rome, Sister Celine (Gaia Scodellaro) reluctantly joins with profane priest Father Jude (Rob Lowe) to investigate false prophets and the possible coming of the Antichrist. Meanwhile, in America, Rhonda (Jenna Fischer) has been imprisoned for hacking the NSA's network, a crime she didn't commit. When a chance turns up to escape and find her family again, she goes on the lam with white supremacist Leanne (Megan Mullally). In England, hapless businessman Jamie (Matthew Baynton) learns startling truths about his missing wife: Not only is she alive, she may very well be with Jamie's hacker supergenius (or is it a supervillain?) twin brother, Ariel (Matthew Baynton).
Is it any good?
Sharp writing and deft comic turns from actors beloved in Britain and the U.S. (this show is a joint production between the two countries) makes the end of the world look like a lot of fun in this madcap comedy. The setting is a bit cliché, as is the idea of beginning with a group of characters in dire straits and then pulling back to show how they got that way. But the situations, characters, plot twists, and jokes are as fresh as they come, which livens up the proceedings considerably. It turns out that though we've all seen dramas and comedies about the end of humanity, this one's welcome. The setup is intriguing, with difficult-to-encapsulate plot points that revolve around government secrets, computer espionage, religious prophecy, shadowy conspiracies, and a hidden bunker where a tiny group of people might survive to repopulate the earth.
But all that plot would be nothing without engaging characters doing interesting things inside that world, and Apocalypse has many of those: Scodellaro as the patient and earnest Sister Celine and Mullally as a go-for-broke schemer are standouts, but there are plenty of other characters to like here, since the show builds a rich and well-populated universe. A fine comedy, and mild enough for families if kids aren't too small to be scared by the premise.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why shows about the extinction of life on earth are currently popular. What cultural anxieties does it express?
Name some other movies and TV shows that deal with the end of the world. How is You, Me and the Apocalypse similar to these depictions? How is it different?