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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Adventure Time contains some mild weapon use and gateway language (like "sucks" and "friggin'") and so is not appropriate for very young kids. The show is rooted in fantasy and absurdity, which is fun for older kids and tweens who can get the references and irony and separate it from reality. Youngsters, however, might be confused and get iffy messages from Finn's unlikely carefree lifestyle. Cartoon-style violence (flame guns, swords, etc.) is common throughout the show, but generally aimed at creatures like zombies, rather than living beings.
What's the story?
ADVENTURE TIME chronicles the off-the-wall, colorful, and often absurd and hilarious escapades of a boy named Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his talking canine friend, Jake (John DiMaggio), who team up for fun in the mystical Land of Ooo. Wherever there's trouble, Finn and Jake are ready for action in the name of justice and adventure often coming to the aid of their friends Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch), Marceline the Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson), and the colorful assortment of Ooo residents.
Is it any good?
If you put an 8-year-old boy's imagination to paper, the result would be pretty close to the place Finn and Jake call home. Few rules of the real world apply in Ooo, where there's really no telling what adventures each day will bring. Older kids capable of getting the show's tongue-in-cheek, ironic, and referential humor will revel in the nonsensical fun, and are likely to be hooked by the sumptuous and surprisingly deep Adventure Time universe. Younger kids might be a bit baffled, but the show is so inventive and gorgeously rendered that even young kids may find it dazzling.
The show does feature a fair amount of marginal language ("sucks" and "friggin'," for example), so if your tweens are apt to repeat everything they hear on TV, you may want to opt out of this one. Another concern is Finn and Jake's reliance on weapons (swords, sticks, fire, etc.) to resolve disputes, though their victims (zombies, in one case) are mostly inhuman in nature.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss how the Adventure Time compares to the real world. What aspects of Finn and Jake's world are rooted in fantasy? Is any of it relevant to the real world? What place does fantasy have in entertainment? Does entertainment always have to have a strong message, or can it just be fun?
Kids: How is your impression of the world shaped by what you see on TV or in movies? Have you ever changed the way you view something because of something you saw on TV? If so, when? How can we use this power of the media to influence positive change?
Kids: How does Adventure Time show us that Finn and Jake are friends? What have you learned about friendship by watching the show? Do any of the characters remind you of your friends, family, or people you know?
Why does Finn sometimes use weapons or violence to solve problems? What would happen in real life if a kid used the same kinds of weapons? Do you think it's funny to watch mild violence like this? Can you separate Finn's use of weapons with what's appropriate in real life?
- Premiere date: April 5, 2010
- Cast: Hynden Walch, Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio
- Network: Cartoon Network
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses and Fairies, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character Strengths: Courage, Curiosity
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
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