Parents' Guide to

Big Nate

By Ashley Moulton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Lots of fun, pranks, and attitude in book-based series.

Big Nate Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 14+

Unpleasant and Unfunny

My son has been a fan of the Big Nate strip for years, so we tried a preview of Paramount Plus to watch this. Unfortunately, we ditched Paramount Plus soon after. Big Nate has well-done visual style and animation, but the stories and characters are much "wackier" and rely more on gross-out humor than the relatable comic strip. Nate has always been an idiot in the comics, but he just comes off as unlikeable here. The first two episodes had few laughs, and it seemed a little meaner in spirit than necessary, but we soldiered on. The 3rd episode, Valentine's Day of Horror, went way into some other franchise with barf humor and exploding rats. It's comical glowing green barf, and cartoony rats, but it had convincing nausea sound effects and struggling kids in a creepier-than-needed set design. The tone went past repeated over-the-top fountains of barf and into an unpleasant territory. The principal, who is covered in spots of green goo, which has been established as vomit, hides a sick kid under a box from visiting inspectors. His callous treatment of the sick kids was disturbing and desperately unfunny. The convincing horror atmosphere, infuriatingly, turns out not to be Nate's "nightmare", and just ends weakly. Captain Underpants has gross-out humor, but can do this with much more wit and creativity. My son was angry at the changes in tone from the comic, disturbed by the 3rd episode, and didn't care about seeing any other episodes. Would not recommend this for kids or parents, would recommend the showrunners try another line of work that doesn't ruin beloved properties, and would recommend Paramount Plus put some effort into quality control.
age 16+

Whoever approved this for kids should be fired and investigated

Checked this out to see if it was ok for my kids. Episode 2 alone makes me wonder how this ever got approved for children. Yeah, there's some classic slapstick that kids might find funny. But the big finish of the episode is a series of jokes that are suggestive of, let me just call it "involuntary and invasive intimacy", and "intimacy with an animal". First, Nate's dog tackles the sculpture of a husky in a fast action scene with lots of grunting--meanwhile, Nate's sister is hiding inside the statute. Then, Nate's father attempts to use a toilet plunger to get his daughter out through the dog statue's "butthole" while Nate's friend comments that his dad is "violating that thing." This is the sort of humor we used to expect from content with a rating for teens and up--think South Park, Archer, or movies like American Pie. It's borderline pornographic. On more general terms, all the characters are idiotic, manipulative, selfish, and treat each other horribly. Nate takes advantage of his father's credit card, against the warnings of his friends. One of his friends fraudulently raises funds with the premise of an imaginary disease. The others bully each other. The only time they're supportive or encouraging is in Nate's "comic fantasy" drawings of a Road Warrior style race. And as others have commented, all this happens with no real consequences for the wrongdoing. Everything just magically resolves and everybody hugs. If this is the world we present to our children, then our society is doomed.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (12 ):

Like the book series the show is based on, the TV show is likely to be loved by kids and to divide parents. On one hand, Big Nate faces extremely relatable middle-schooler problems: wanting to be liked by his peers, having a crush on a girl who's not interested in him, and having a teacher who is bent on making his life miserable. On the other hand, some of the antics that are silly in comic-book form come off as slightly meaner and more violent when translated into animation. Some parents may prefer not to have a character with such an anti-school, teacher, and rule-following attitude (though others will think it's all in good fun and not a big deal). Kids will find Nate hilarious, some grown-ups might find the negative humor a bit off-putting. The first episode of the series, for example, features a character with violent, anti-social tendencies that are played for laughs. It won't be every grown-up's cup of tea. Fans of the comics and books will like seeing their hero come to life, but parents of kids who haven't yet been introduced to Nate might be wary.

TV Details

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