What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this frenetic, 15-minute animated sketch series is part of the Cartoon Network's late-night "Adult Swim" block. While it's visually entertaining, it's violent and irreverent, and kids and tweens probably won't get its style of humor. Plus, many of the laughs are based on the fact that the majority of the characters are toys from the '70s and '80s; viewers who don't recognize that context will probably miss a lot.
What's the story?
Part of the Cartoon Network's late-night "Adult Swim" line-up, ROBOT CHICKEN entertains viewers with stop-motion animation segments that appear totally random but are tied together in the end. Created by Seth Green (Austin Powers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Matthew Senreich, each episode takes viewers on a fast-paced ride through dozens of scenes populated by action figures, many of which date from the '70s and '80s (He-Man, G.I. Joe, Smurfs, Transformers, etc.).The rapid-fire, irreverent sketches poke fun at popular TV shows, movies, music, and celebrities.
Is it any good?
Much of the show's humor comes from seeing familiar toys placed in incongruous situations (Skeletor in a carpool, Voltron in a break-dancing contest). As a result, the viewers most likely to enjoy the show are pop culture-savvy types who grew up playing with the toys in question. That said, if parents can get past the series' completely random humor, goofy absurdity, and frequent, random acts of cartoon violence, there's nothing about Robot Chicken that older teens won't find elsewhere.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about what makes this show (and cartoons in general) funny. Why is it funny to see old toys put into incongruous situations?
Why does cartoon violence make us laugh, when the same thing happening in real life would be terrifying?
Why are cartoons, as a whole, so entertaining for kids? Do they enjoy the dialogue or the animation more? How can you tell when a particular cartoon isn't meant for younger viewers?