Dexter's Laboratory

TV review by
Deirdre Sheppard, Common Sense Media
Dexter's Laboratory TV Poster Image
Dexter and pals use science to set iffy examples.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 48 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

The characters' actions -- particularly their tendency to use physical and verbal violence -- send iffy messages about how to deal with problems and other people.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dexter and Dee Dee set questionable examples, and their parents are completely aloof.

Violence & Scariness

Frequently glamorizes weapons like knives, swords, guns, and bows and arrows.

Sexy Stuff

Rare, but not undeard of. For example, one segment features a silhouette of a naked woman.

Language

Words like "stupid" and "idiot" regularly pop up in dialogue.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Rare, but not unheard of. One episode features a chain-smoking waitress, and the customers drink beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that even though this series features witty writing and sharp animation, the characters may leave a bad taste in some parents' mouths because they conduct themselves so poorly. Kids are rude and disrespectful (to each other and to adults), and parents are clueless and often nowhere to be found. There's also lots of cartoon violence and regular use of words like "stupid" and "idiot."

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJaydogZackery May 15, 2020

6+ is fine

I did my research, but one episode was in fact rated TV-14; ironically, most of the swearing was bleeped (honestly it really should have been TV-PG). Which is c... Continue reading
Adult Written byRarityfan October 7, 2018

Classic CN

So much cartoon slapstick violence. For adult 1990's fans a must see.
Kid, 7 years old September 3, 2016

Did Not Like It

Do not let your kids watch this. This cartoon is full of violence. They are arguing and saying bad words. They do not like each other. Their mom and dad are nic... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byMusiclovergig July 1, 2020

Classic Cartoon Network

Fun show about a British scientist. Personally I like Johnny Test better, but this one is still good.

What's the story?

DEXTER'S LABORATORY chronicles the life of Dexter (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh), a child prodigy with a secret lab that he uses to conduct experiments like building a mass-destructing robot or using advanced technology to catch up with the ice cream man. Something's guaranteed to go awry in each episode, with Dexter's sister Dee Dee (Allison Moore) often having a hand in the trouble.

Is it any good?

There's plenty of cartoon violence here. In one episode, for example, Dexter and his friends play an interactive game that features Robin Hood look-alikes and magicians who battle dragons with swords and bows. As if gruesome stabs weren't enough, at one point a dragon's arm is sliced off, and after a few seconds he turns into a piñata with candy pouring out of his body. The story twist might be clever, but the endless displays of mocking violence are almost shocking

Plus, Dexter's parents are nowhere to be seen, mimicking '50s TV moms and dads in their complete denial of their kids' problematic behavior. Most Their obliviousness sends a confusing message -- are they really clueless, or are they too lazy to invest the proper time and care necessary to raise their kids? (On a positive note, Dexter and his sister do stick by their parents when necessary.) Bottom line? When watching Dexter's Laboratory, expect shrill, piercing voices accompanied by temper tantrums, violence, name calling, and overall disrespect. Kids might enjoy this three-ring circus of a show, but a headache is the only thing a parent will walk away with. If Dexter's Laboratory was synthesized in the cartoon lab, its formula would be 1/10 funny and three parts obnoxious.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the benefits of science. How can you use science to expand your knowledge and help people?

  • Does Dexter use scientific knowledge in a positive way? Do the ends ever justify the means?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Themes & Topics

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