Casper & Friends

Common Sense Media says

Kindly spirit's charming tales have some iffy retro content.

Age(i)

2
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5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
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15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive messages

Kids see Casper disowned by his own kind because he refuses to conform to their scary ways. Rather than belaboring the issue of disowning, however, this plot point reminds kids that it's OK to be a bit different from those around you. As Casper demonstrates, there's joy to be had in acting on your own values and spreading kindness to those around you. The series reflects its original mid-century era via stereotypes, violence, and behavior such as smoking.

Positive role models

Casper is joyous and friendly, and he makes it his job to help others. The rest of the characters are a mixed bag: Some are good, some aren't, but typically bad behavior yields negative consequences for the doer.

Violence & scariness

Not every story has violent content, but in some cases there are incidents of fighting and weapon use that are intense by today's standards for kids' shows. Guns are drawn and used against people and animals, but they miss their mark. In one scene, Casper is shot at close range, but the bullet goes through his spirit form and causes no damage. In another, a gunshot is heard from out of the frame, implying that a man has killed himself over losing money gambling.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some characters smoke, which reflects the show's origin in the 1950s.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Casper & Friends is a collection of animated shorts packaged in sets of four for each 30-minute episode. Some of the stories center on the antics of the notoriously friendly ghost; others feature different characters with a range of story lines. This, combined with the cartoon's retro flair, makes the content hard to predict, and some stories may present stereotypes, violence, and other content that's not the norm in modern cartoons for kids. Watch out for fighting, gun use, and implied violent acts (in one episode, it's presumed that a man shoots himself after losing all his money gambling, for instance). For his part, though, Casper is a great model of helpfulness and kindness to everyone he meets.

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What's the story?

Everyone's favorite ghost takes center stage in CASPER & FRIENDS. Disowned by his fellow spirits for being too friendly, Casper heads out into the people world for new adventures, through which he makes friends and helps them solve problems. This anthological series from the early '90s also includes stories centering on a handful of other main characters and their antics.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Casper the Ghost is no stranger to the TV or movie screen, having first appeared in a 1939 children's book and a TV series in 1945. This collection features restored versions of Harvey Comics' '50s-era Casper and others such as Baby Huey, Little Audrey, and Herman and Katnip. As such, the animation is markedly different from what kids today are used to, but the stories are still charming, and Casper's as friendly as ever.

That said, these are tales from a very different era, and they often reflect that in not-so-subtle ways. Characters smoke, guns are visible and used on people and other characters (although there are no visible injuries), and stereotypes may exist. This is likely to be confusing to youngsters, so proceed with some caution if you're adding this to your kids' visual library.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this series reflects its mid-century origins. What do the characters do or say that might not be acceptable today? What do these differences tell you about how society used to be?

  • In what ways is Casper a good friend? Why are some characters scared of him? Why is it important to see past people's appearances before passing judgment?

  • What accounts for the enduring quality of certain characters in TV and movies? Are there any that you have enjoyed in more than one series or film? Have new incarnations ever disappointed you?

TV details

Network:Hulu
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Adventures, Book characters, Friendship, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
TV rating:TV-Y7-FV
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Casper & Friends was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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