What are the Consequences of Gaming too much as a child? What effects does it have when the game is also violent? The latest episode of Extended Family looks at just that.
NBC’s new sitcom, Extended Family, centers around a family that co-parents (Jim and Julia) and take an unconventional look at divorce. The children live in a single apartment and the parents are the ones that change homes each week. That sounds like it would make for a much more stable environment for the kids at the very least. Julia does however bring her fiancé around frequently. Previous episodes introduce the rules that govern the family and how rigid they are, taking everyone into account. Conceptually I thought this was a great idea when the parents could get along. The third episode, The Consequences of Gaming, attempts to use it’s 22 minutes of running time to focus on the negative effects of violent gaming on children.
During the changing of the guard, during a longer period with the children than normal for Jim, he admits to allowing the children’s devices to watch them more than he did due to his own exhaustion. Being a parent is exhausting, I get it but the show makes it seem like being a parent is nearly impossible over the course of 14 days, especially when the children already seem to be self sufficient most of the time. I understand that doing it all by yourself can be too much at times but if the show is going to portray the kids as these exhausting energy sucking vampires then we need to see more out of the kids in the story. When calling Jimmy Jr in for dinner his father admits that he played his video games unattended for almost the entirety of the previous day because he was too tired to parent. When Julia overhears some of the violent phrases coming from their son she gets quite worried.
When I was asked to review this episode I was expecting a discussion of the effects of gaming on children and the perceived violence that can come from it. Instead we are given a couple jokes, it is a comedy after all, and the lesson the parents learn is to distract the children with fears instead. I feel like the show greatly missed the mark on what could have been a discussion on how a child still needs a parent to actually parent at times and to have open dialogue. Three episodes into this show and I feel the writing is aimed more at producing situations for witty one-liners that fall flat with an even worse delivery. The only saving grace WAS the violent comments delivered by Finn Sweeny, his delivery seemed to be the best of the cast. The trailers for the series looked promising but if we don’t get much improvement and soon this is one viewer who will change the channel.