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 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is an animated series that's a chronological prequel to the movie of the same name and its sequel. Here Flint Lockwood and Sam Sparks are teens muddling through high school and following their shared passion for science, Flint through his inventions and Sam through aspiring to weather reporting. There's much silliness to the show's humor, usually tied to some kind of mishap wrought by one of Flint's machines. Expect a lot of cartoon violence (crashes, explosions, falls) but predictably nothing that bothers the characters for long. Some favorite characters return to delight fans of the movies, who will enjoy seeing them in their younger years.
What's the story?
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS is an animated series set prior to the timing of the feature-length film of the same name. The stories follow teen inventor extraordinaire Flint Lockwood (voiced by Mark Edwards), a town misfit until he meets his new classmate Sam Sparks (Katie Griffin), who shares his passion for science and has a particular passion for meteorology and TV reporting. Together these fast friends face the ups and downs of high school in their small town of Swallow Falls and cope with the inevitably hilarious fallout from Flint's many unusual inventions.
Is it any good?
This franchise add-on will be on the must-see list of every kid who loves the movies' goofball humor, but it doesn’t charm quite like the CGI versions did. Duller animation and a less remarkable voice cast detract a bit, but it's never lacking in the science-related slapstick that helped make the movies a hit. A select group of familiar faces make returns here, including Flint's dad, Tim (Sean Cullen); his sidekick, Steve the monkey (Edwards again); and Earl (Cle Bennett), who's Flint's boisterous gym teacher in his pre-law enforcement days.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs doesn't attempt to lead directly into the movies and in fact presents a major inconsistency for the later stories by introducing Sam to Flint during their teen years. Of course this is only a concern for those who have seen the chronologically later stories first; new viewers without a history with these characters won't have a problem and likely will want to follow up with the movies at some point. A big plus to the show? Even though the science often isn't realistic, the hero and heroine make nerdiness seem pretty cool.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fitting in among peers. Is it ever OK to change who you are in an attempt to be accepted? How willing are you to befriend people who don't fit a certain mold?
How does Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs portray science and technology? What applications do you see in play here? How might their realistic counterparts lead to results different from Flint and Sam's experience? What is the value of trying something and failing?
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