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Dennis the Menace
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 in this pumped up version of the original Hank Ketchum cartoon Dennis leaves the domestic realm to play in tanks, catch bank robbers, chase kangaroos, and even fly a rocket ship. Dennis sometimes gets hailed as a hero when he was, in fact, doing something he shouldn't have been. And despite some mild violence and big mistakes, there are never any negative consequences.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Back in the 1950s, when cartoonist Hank Ketchum first drew him, Dennis Mitchell was just an over-eager 5 year old with a gift for making his grumpy neighbor Mr. Wilson crazy. In this animated version from 1986-88, Dennis is still causing Mr. Wilson all kinds of physical and emotional pain, but in much larger ways, through adventures catching bank robbers and messing around in an army tank.
Is it any good?
Taking Dennis' adventures outside the realm of normal kid experience hasn't really done much for the character. Dennis is still, fortunately, a good-hearted kid. Yet in pumping up the action, the cartoon loses much of its original charm and becomes too much like other cartoons in which kids fight bad guys and fly in space. If your kids can tell the difference between fantasy violence and real violence, it's mindless fun, but don't expect much else.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cartoon pratfalls and violence. Why do people sometimes laugh when we see someone fall?
Parents can ask their children if they think Dennis is doing the right thing when he plows ahead with whatever scheme or interest he has. Why do they think Dennis never seems to get into any real trouble?
Families: Do you think kids' television always need to teach a lesson, or is it OK to watch for pure entertainment value?
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.