Dexter's Laboratory TV Poster Image

Dexter's Laboratory

Dexter and pals use science to set iffy examples.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
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

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.


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

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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."

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:April 28, 1996
Cast:Allison Moore, Frank Welker, Katie Soucie
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Book characters, Science and nature
TV rating:TV-G

This review of Dexter's Laboratory was written by

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Teen, 17 years old Written byAmanda Please September 25, 2011

Stop tearing apart a great show.

Seriously, you people are ridiculous. All my childhood shows are being torn apart, criticized, and hated on. No offense, but you wouldn't understand the show unless you were a 90's kid. I grew up with this show, among others, and I LOVED it. Still love it, to this day. I'll go on Youtube every now and then to watch another episode. Yeah, okay, it's not educational. It's a bit violent, somewhat weird, but you can't deny that it's entertaining. I would stay up/wake up early to watch this show when I was a kid, and even the episodes that seemed a little stupid/pointless I still enjoyed watching. Honestly, it's not a bad show. My childhood was based on this show, yet I'm not in any way violent or rule-breaking--I'm just me. If your kid turns out evil because of the cartoon...well, then something's wrong with your kid. Every person I know who was a fan of the show such as myself are completely normal people; back then, us children knew that Dexter's Laboratory wasn't promoting violence...we knew it was for entertainment purposes only. Personally, I miss the show. I know it's on Boomerang, but there's no way I can stay up till 3 AM to watch it. So, if it's on, don't worry; it's totally fine for kids. Maybe not the three year olds and under but 5-7 should be okay.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byTimTheTVGuy October 16, 2012

Interesting stuff!

Dexter's Laboratory was such an addictive cartoon! Funny,creative,and colorful! Now CSM,I accept your opinion,but you guys are wrong! It should have 4! If you have no clue what i'm talking about,check the reviews! Kids section has a 4 star quality,and the adults section has a 5 star quality.I've said this once,and i'll say it again,YOU GUYS HAVE HORRIBLE TASTE!
Kid, 11 years old June 15, 2013


This was an amazing series, funny characters and "The parents is nowhere to be seen." What? i have seen these Charaters every episode. and how dare you give this classic 2 stars? i agree with you if you give 2 stars for season 3 and 4 but really the whole show for 2 stars? if i go to Johnny Test and see a higher rating i'm going to be mad. Ok, i just read "Parents will get a headache with this show" (Faceplam) My mom acts like she hates this show but deep down she loves it, i know because she does laugh alot watching dexter but not as much as me X) and my aunt loves it! when she heard that i liked it too she asked "Did you watch where dexter became an old man?! Overall i give it 10/10 for it's jokes and 10/10 for seasons 1 and 2