What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this series provides a mixed bag of messages. On one hand, these islanders set good examples by finding innovative ways to keep themselves busy -- but on the other, they're victims of stereotypes. And one of the main characters, Mike, isn't a very motivated student.
What's the story?
MIKE, LU & OG takes place on a sparsely populated tropical island (vaguely implied to be Pitcairn Island) devoid of social development. The main characters include Micheline "Mike" Mavinksy (voiced by Nika Futterman), a foreign exchange student from Manhattan, and her native peers: Lu (Nancy Cartwright) and Og (Dee Bradley Baker). Og has a knack for conducting technological experiments with coconuts and empty cans, and Lu is a spoiled island brat who's convinced she's a princess. The two young islanders fill a void to Mike's boredom, and together the trio creates adventures both big and small.
Is it any good?
For example, in one episode, feisty Mike introduces the concept of TV to the island. Og scavenges all of the beach trash he can find and manages to build a widescreen set. The TV doesn't actually get any channels, but all of the islanders still become fixated with the "snow storm" on the screen -- offering a comic allusion to the idea that TV (whether working or not) ultimately has nothing to offer ... and that even the power of nothing can turn us into dysfunctional vegetables. In another episode, Mike teaches all of the islanders how to roller skate, which means she and her friends are kept busy building a rink and making skates. Mike is a flip-of-the-coin character -- she's always finding a project to tap into and is always eager to get the others involved, but she doesn't apply the same amount of drive to her studies. Mike loves the lack of education she's receiving as a foreign exchange student and ultimately shows no real motivation to attain any long-term goals.Parents should note that this series sits on the fence when it comes to stereotypes. All of the island characters wear grass skirts and nose rings and have no concept of modern civilization. Kids need to understand that each country has its own level of societal advancement so that they don't come away with the assumption that every island in the world is desolate and uncivilized. Parents need to take the time to explain the possible misinterpretation.When watching Mike, Lu & Og, expect innovative adventures. The music and the characters' costumes also add to the fun. Slight stereotypes and sometimes-whiny characters are the only potential causes for concern -- overall, it's not too shabby.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the power of imagination. If you lived on the island, what could you do to keep your mind occupied besides watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the Internet? How can you use your imagination to entertain yourself and others? How can imagination help you be a more productive member of society?