Bunsen Is a Beast

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Bunsen Is a Beast TV Poster Image
Themes of inclusiveness often upstaged by beastly behavior.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 9 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

A mixed bag. On one hand, the show's themes about inclusiveness and respecting differences are impossible to miss, reminding kids that it's OK to not let social mores and others' expectations dictate who you are. On the other, Bunsen breaks just about every rule of basic decorum in school and out in the human world, causing grief and messes for others to clean up but continuing to expect that people will do so. Even so, Mikey remains loyal to his friend and helps him navigate the uncertainties of the people world. Some nastiness from Mikey's nemesis, who tries to sabotage Bunsen's assimilation.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mikey is a steadfast and empathetic friend to Bunsen and refuses to allow what others think change his feelings about accepting his friend's differences. Bunsen doesn't set out to wreak the havoc he does, but he's unfamiliar with human behavior and beholden to his own impulses, which often lead to a big mess. Amanda is selfish and mean in her efforts to interfere with Bunsen's adjustment to people life. Adults are mostly absent from the stories and ineffectual when they are there.

Violence & Scariness

Bunsen can morph shape and alter size, and some foods instigate dramatic changes in him. When he's under the influence, he's an oversized threatening presence with massive feet, large teeth, and menacing claws. Cartoon violence such as bumps, crashes, and falls are common. Some scenes show what would be fatal accidents in the real world, such as people falling into a fiery pit.

Sexy Stuff

Mikey harbors a not-so-secret crush on his classmate Sophie, and he gets swoony when he's around her. Rarely there are hints at more, such asas when Bunsen asks his friend, "Did you want to spawn with her?"

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bunsen Is a Beast is an animated series from the creator of Fairly Odd Parents with prominent messages about inclusiveness and appreciating differences, as shown by a beast's arrival as a student at a human middle school. A boy's determination to befriend his new classmate and help him acclimate is a heart-warmer, but as the story continues, Bunsen's behavior is still pretty out of control. Of course, kids will like the show's over-the-top situations and Bunsen's bizarre reactions to them, and there's some body humor mixed in as well. Expect some hints at a boy's crush on his pretty classmate and a lot of meanness from the class bully, who's determined to oust Bunsen from her school.

User Reviews

Adult Written byIce T March 4, 2017
Grandparent Written byRonald M. February 25, 2017

Bunsen looks terrible

Terrible flash, crappie show shows that are better than this 3. Loud house 22.Harvey beaks 1. Spongebob squarepants
Teen, 16 years old Written byUsrthea April 30, 2017

It's ok, but kinda hard to believe this is made by Butch Hartman.

I've been a huge fan of Butch Hartman since I was 7, he's pretty much my idol! I love "The Fairy Odd Parents" and "Danny Phantom"!... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 23, 2017

One of the best modern Nick shows

This is Butch Hartman's next show after FOP, Danny Phantom, and TUFF Puppy. Nickelodeon has been going downhill since 2009. All the years before then were... Continue reading

What's the story?

BUNSEN IS A BEAST centers on the unlikely friendship between Mikey Munroe (voiced by Ben Giroux) and his new classmate, a beast named Bunsen (Jeremy Rowley). As the first beast enrolled in the traditionally all-human Muckledunk Middle School, Bunsen is something of an ambassador for his species, and he gets off to a rough start fitting in with his new peers. Then kindly Mikey steps in and offers to help him navigate the uncertainties of such activities as making friends, doing homework, and eating lunch in the school cafeteria. It will take all of Mikey's patience and Bunsen's concerted effort to win over the likes of Mikey's nemesis, Amanda (Kari Wahlgren), who's out to make sure Bunsen is sent packing from their school.

Is it any good?

This show's messages about inclusiveness are obvious from the start, and the improbable friendship between human and beast underscores the importance of looking past physical appearance. Unfortunately, though, Bunsen's utterly beastly -- if not entirely purposeful -- behavior makes it increasingly difficult to root for his success in winning over his human counterparts and causes thoughtful viewers to wonder if this exercise in "commingling" is really worth the effort. As TV misfits go, quirkiness and naïveté are endearing characteristics that always manage to get the audience on your side, but Bunsen gets tiresome in record time. Kids will find the hyperbolic comedy entertaining, but it will wear on parents' nerves.

What's more, while Bunsen Is a Beast is visually engaging on the eyes, it's downright hard on the ears. Bunsen has two volumes -- loud and extremely loud -- and his body's many unusual functions (eyes that extend outward, numerous arms that appear and disappear, a head that propels objects from its top) are accompanied by all kinds of sound effects. The bottom line? This series has an admirable premise that's illustrated by a surprising friendship, but the show's more irritating elements can overshadow its better points.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about empathy and how it's demonstrated in Bunsen Is a Beast. What is the value in trying to see a situation from someone else's viewpoint? How can we show we care even when we don't fully understand another person's plight? What other character strengths are important for people to develop?

  • What basic truths unite all people, regardless of where they come from? Is that enough to make coexistence a possibility, or can other factors threaten peace despite our best efforts? Have you ever experienced this kind of challenge among friends?

TV details

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