A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that some of the racial stereotypes are confusing. Though there is an attempt to present a representation of urban mixtures, there is not much respect in the characterization of cultural background. There can be violence against females in the fight scenes and some macho fronting by Jake.
What's the story?
AMERICAN DRAGON: JAKE LONG is about an Asian-American boy, Jake Long (voiced by Dante Basco), who lives in New York City. A typical teenager who loves to skateboard, Jake is protecting a family secret: He is in fact a dragon, and it's his duty to protect the magical creatures that live in New York City.
Is it any good?
While kids will enjoy the pratfalls and goofy behavior of Jake and his crew, parents might cringe at the awkward portrayal of urban life in this show. Jake's posturing when talking to his grandfather, who happens to be his spiritual master, goes against the Chinese tradition of respect for one's elders. Also confusing is the "ghetto" speak of his African-American friends. It's true that cultural differences in urban living are very real; perhaps this show would be better off sticking to the action, rather than the social commentary.
The pace of the show is bouncy and entertaining, though some of the fight scenes can present scary dark forces that Jake must defeat. Some humorous moments come through, but the iffy aspects of the show outweigh the treats here. In other words, there are better programs out there for young martial arts aficionados to pursue.
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