A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Rare, but not undeard of. For example, one segment features a silhouette of a naked woman.
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Words like "stupid" and "idiot" regularly pop up in dialogue.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Rare, but not unheard of. One episode features a chain-smoking waitress, and the customers drink beer.
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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."
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.