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 this hilarious show from the creator of the lovable Wallace and Gromit characters puts unscripted dialogue from the British public into the mouths of claymation animals, expounding on social topics like irksome neighbors, politics, and pet peeves. Families will find a lot to smile about here with great animation, virtually no iffy content, and some mild potty humor sure to please kids. The ironic quality of the comedy, based in dialogue paired with unusual orators (like hyenas whose interviews are disrupted over and over by giggling fits), will be lost on most kids, but they'll love the cute characters as much as parents will enjoy the show's superb wit.
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What's the story?
CREATURE COMFORTS began in 1990 as an Oscar-winning short film starring zoo animals who discussed the ups and downs of their new living situations, using commentary from the British public to create the animals' dialogue. Now creator Nick Park (who also brought viewers laughs in The Incredible Adventures of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run) adds to the fun in a new series of shorts with even more characters of the mammalian, reptilian, crustacean, and even floral kind, all of whom have lots to say on just about any topic you can imagine. The show plays out like a series of man-on-the-street interviews, capturing the speakers in their natural surroundings. Cameras take viewers from county fairs and safari parks to suburban homes, documenting animals' opinions on a variety of subjects.
Is it any good?
If you've ever wondered whether a sea lion would consider liposuction or what most grates on the nerves of a clam, now's your chance to find out. There's really no end to the fun in this show, and it's a rare find that will entertain both kids and their parents, with no eyebrow-raising content to speak of. Adults will enjoy the ironic pairing of unscripted commentary with just the right creatures -- like flies trapped in a spider's web arguing about how long they've each "lived" there, or elderly female bats who can hardly make it through their interview because of their tendency to lapse into gossip. While much of this subtlety will bypass youngsters, the show also has a more obvious variety of cutesy comedy that will garner a howl from grade-schoolers. Park's mastery of claymation tops off this great show by making the animals and their surroundings convincingly real -- which makes the comedy just that much more hysterical.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the meaning of words can change with other influences. How do the animals' appearances and surroundings affect the meaning of their dialogue? How would the words seem different if your kids saw the actual human speaker? Parents can also discuss the show's animation style. Do you like the claymation characters or traditional animated characters better? Do the claymation characters seem more or less realistic? Why?