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Big City Greens
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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Big City Greens is a quirky but heartwarming animated series about a family that moves from the country to the city and doesn't quite fit in. Despite mining familiar stereotypes of rural dwellers -- dirty clothes, strong accents, a dilapidated home, unsophisticated intelligence, and even, in one character's case, a missing fingertip -- the show has strong family-centric themes and silly, lighthearted laughs. Expect antics that aren't exactly realistic, like kids' mostly unsupervised run of the city that yields all kinds of ill-advised adventures. That said, the Greens make time together a priority and prove that being different is OK.
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What's the story?
BIG CITY GREENS follows the Green family, recent transplants from the country to a bustling urban metropolis. Most of the action comes at the hands of Cricket (voiced by Chris Houghton), a mischievous boy with a knack for getting into scrapes and inadvertently causing trouble that drives his new city-wise neighbors crazy. His older sister, Tilly (Marieve Herington), often gets drawn into his antics, but she tends to keep a cooler head about things than he does. The kids live with their father, Bill (Bob Joles), and their elderly grandmother, Gramma Alice (Artemis Pebdani).
Is it any good?
Surprisingly charming and exceedingly silly, this series will delight kids with its quirky characters and utterly improbable predicaments. Cricket's zest for living life to its fullest yields adventures of the wackiest kinds, like inventing a device to send a chicken into space. Other mishaps find the Greens without any help and set the laughs in motion.
Big City Greens's fish-out-of-water premise plays on stereotypes of country folks in characterizing the family's uneasy acclimation to their new urban home. (Think The Beverly Hillbillies in animated form.) The result is laugh-out-loud funny, but it's also a great opportunity to talk with kids about the downside of this type of group casting. On the bright side, though, the Greens' experiences also espouse strong themes about positive family relationships.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the stereotypes presented in Big City Greens. How does the way the Greens look and sound influence how you feel about them as characters? Are their urban neighbors cast as more sophisticated or smarter because of where they live? Are stereotypes like this dangerous in any way? Where does one draw the line between reflecting reality and perpetuating profiling?
In what ways does the Green family structure reflect a changing definition of family? How does their single-parent, multigenerational family compare to yours? Do family members have to have a biological connection? Why or why not?
What character strengths stand out among the Greens? How does perseverance help them thrive in the city? Does Cricket's quest for adventure land him in trouble at times? How might his plans play out in the real world?
How do experiences that border on the absurd, like many of those here, let us live vicariously through the characters' lives? Kids: Do you like imaginative play? What roles do you imagine for yourself?
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