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TV Series Review

Rel's life was pretty great, really. He had a wife. Two kids. A fantastic barber.

But then his wife slept with his barber. And, just like that, Rel's whole world became a tangled, unshorn mess. He's divorced now: His wife took his kids, his furniture and his self-respect a time zone or two away. And while Chicago's home to plenty of barbers, it's hard to find one who can give Rel's hair the care it so desperately needs.

Yep, time for Rel take some clippers to his life and prune it back into shape. Find new furniture. New purpose. Maybe even a new girlfriend. And who knows? Maybe a great new barber—preferably one without extramarital intentions—is setting up shop just 'round the corner.

Just a little off the top, please.

Layered Look

Rel won't be performing his wholistic reclamation project on his life all alone, mind you. A few folks still care about him deeply—even if they struggle to show it without an eyeroll.

Brittany is Rel's best friend, and she wouldn't ever shun him. Well, not for long, anyway. Plus, she feels a certain duty to help him back get back on his feet and to find him a sweet new belle.

Rel's little brother, Nat, is back in Rel's life, too, after having spent some time in the slammer for selling Ecstasy. He's a changed man himself, Nat insists. Why, he even joined Oprah's book club.

And then there's Rel's Dad. He lost his wife, too—to death, the severest barber of all. But he's stuffed plenty of sage wisdom in his back pocket over the years, and he's happy to take some of it out, brush off the crumbs and hand it over to Rel whenever he asks. Or doesn't, but really should. Good wisdom doesn't require an invitation to be shared, crumb-covered or no.

Rel's kids are still in the picture, too—as in, the picture on Rel's smartphone. They're mostly a long ways away, but Rel does sometimes get to see them in person. And his apartment comes with two kids' bedrooms done up in Black Panther décor. (There was a sale, Rel says.)

With a little help, Rel will get his life together again. Keeping it sane? Well, that's another matter.

Deep Cuts

Rel, a new Fox sitcom, means well, as many comedies do. The titular character really does love his kids. The supporting characters really do care for Rel. And you know what? The lot of them even go to church once in a while—unusual in today's sitcoms. (And yesterday's too, for that matter.) The show can be pretty funny, to boot.

But whatever fun it offers comes amid crass sexual innuendo, mean-spirited behavior and oodles of bad language. Nothing that'd earn it an R-rating, mind you, but certainly not the kind of stuff you'd want to hear at the family dinner table, either.

Rel's new life was made possible, and unavoidable, by a wayward barber. If I had my druthers, I'd employ a different sort of barber for this sitcom: one who'd use a pair of metaphorical scissors to snip out unwanted profanity and trim away the show's sexual allusions. Rel, the sitcom, just needs a little off the top. And maybe the sides. And a good shampooing, too.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Sept. 9, 2018: "Pilot"



Readability Age Range





Lil Rel Howery as Rel; Jessica "Jess Hilarious" Moore as Brittany; Jordan L. Jones as Nat; Sinbad as Dad






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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