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 although this show is rated as OK for everyone, the fast cuts and wild animation make it unsuitable for very young viewers. Almost every episode has storylines that include deception, blackmail, and bribery (albeit on a very mild level), which may make it confusing for less-sophisticated viewers. Corneil's determination not to reveal his true self to his loving owners, although a tired plot device, offers an iffy social message.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
CORNEIL AND BERNIE relates the escapades of a genius dog (Corneil, voiced by Keith Wickham) and his idiot dogwalker ((Bernie, voiced by Ben Small). Bernie's not very bright, and he's crass, insensitive, selfish, and completely unaware of his faults. Because Bernie is the only human who knows that Corneil can talk (and is, in fact, a genius), he has the upper hand over Corneil, and he uses it in almost every episode. Corneil is often shown cringing and kowtowing to Bernie when they're interacting on this level. And when the two are shown as boy and dog, Bernie's treatment of Corneil isn't much better -- Bernie's forever dragging the dog around on his leash and slamming him into things.
Is it any good?
Other than the dragging-around-and-knocking-into-things, there's no particular violence in Corneil and Bernie and only mild salacious glances from the teenage Bernie at buxom cartoon girls and women. Still, this isn't really a cartoon for young kids. The relationship between Corneil and Bernie is complex and not particularly appealing, and the mayhem has a malicious feel, as if Bernie knows that even if Corneil is a dog, Corneil has something Bernie hasn't got. Older kids will have seen it all before, but why teach younger viewers that people and animals can be ugly to each other before absolutely necessary?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the relationship between Corneil and Bernie. Does Corneil really like Bernie? Would Bernie really give Corneil away? (The answers actually aren't clear -- this isn't a particularly heartwarming show.) Families can also try to count how many talking-animal-discovered-by-a-human books, movies, and TV shows they can come up with. From the Warner Brothers' dancing frog to Turner and Hooch, this plot device has been used a million times.