A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.
Kids see Casper disowned by his own kind because he refuses to conform to their scary ways. Rather than belaboring the issue of disowning, however, this plot point reminds kids that it's OK to be a bit different from those around you. As Casper demonstrates, there's joy to be had in acting on your own values and spreading kindness to those around you. The series reflects its original mid-century era via stereotypes, violence, and behavior such as smoking.
Positive Role Models
Casper is joyous and friendly, and he makes it his job to help others. The rest of the characters are a mixed bag: Some are good, some aren't, but typically bad behavior yields negative consequences for the doer.
Violence & Scariness
Not every story has violent content, but in some cases there are incidents of fighting and weapon use that are intense by today's standards for kids' shows. Guns are drawn and used against people and animals, but they miss their mark. In one scene, Casper is shot at close range, but the bullet goes through his spirit form and causes no damage. In another, a gunshot is heard from out of the frame, implying that a man has killed himself over losing money gambling.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some characters smoke, which reflects the show's origin in the 1950s.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Casper & Friends is a collection of animated shorts packaged in sets of four for each 30-minute episode. Some of the stories center on the antics of the notoriously friendly ghost; others feature different characters with a range of story lines. This, combined with the cartoon's retro flair, makes the content hard to predict, and some stories may present stereotypes, violence, and other content that's not the norm in modern cartoons for kids. Watch out for fighting, gun use, and implied violent acts (in one episode, it's presumed that a man shoots himself after losing all his money gambling, for instance). For his part, though, Casper is a great model of helpfulness and kindness to everyone he meets.
Is It Any Good?
Casper the Ghost is no stranger to the TV or movie screen, having first appeared in a 1939 children's book and a TV series in 1945. This collection features restored versions of Harvey Comics' '50s-era Casper and others such as Baby Huey, Little Audrey, and Herman and Katnip. As such, the animation is markedly different from what kids today are used to, but the stories are still charming, and Casper's as friendly as ever.
That said, these are tales from a very different era, and they often reflect that in not-so-subtle ways. Characters smoke, guns are visible and used on people and other characters (although there are no visible injuries), and stereotypes may exist. This is likely to be confusing to youngsters, so proceed with some caution if you're adding this to your kids' visual library.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.