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 the star of this cartoon is beloved 6-year-old heroine Eloise, the star of Kay Thompson's popular book series. Vivacious Eloise lives in New York City's Plaza Hotel and enjoys exploring her home (and occasionally the street outside) without adult supervision. Her constant mischief (like announcing in a crowded elevator that her pet tarantula is missing so that everyone will leave and she can get to her floor faster) bothers adult characters but is rarely corrected by her nanny. She relishes being in the spotlight and can come across as self-centered. The series attempts to include lessons in patience and responsibility, but the messages are often overshadowed by Eloise's many mischievous, consequence-free escapades.
What's the story?
The star of Kay Thompson's best-selling children's books come to life in ELOISE, an animated series about a precocious 6-year old who lives with her British nanny at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Eloise (voiced by Mary Matilyn Mouser) never lacks for something to do within the hotel walls she knows so well. Each day is a new adventure as she pirouettes through the halls and explores every nook and cranny while winning over the hearts of many hotel guests and employees -- as well as that of her nanny (Lynn Redgrave), who thinks the world of her -- with her bubbly personality. But behind Eloise's smile lies the mind of a troublemaker, and she torments the hotel staff -- especially the rigid manager, Mr. Salamone (Tim Curry) -- with her many pranks and general mischief. On any given day she can be found running through the halls with sticks, making a racket on the room doors to awaken the guests, or devising creative ways to clear an elevator so she can ride undisturbed.
Is it any good?
Eloise is a beautifully animated adaptation of the classic book series that first won over readers in 1955. But while kids will get a kick out of Eloise's outrageously naughty behavior, some aspects of her lifestyle may make parents hesitate before they approve it for young viewers. The attention lavished on Eloise by her many adult admirers tends to inflate her already bursting ego -- although, on the flipside, she's outgoing and self-reliant and easily befriends many different types of people. What's more, Eloise's penchant for calculated mischief goes mostly unpunished, and is played for laughs throughout the show.
The adults' mostly half-hearted reprimands come across as playful exchanges, and Eloise never pays them much attention. The only adult with any authority over her is Nanny, but since she doesn't accompany Eloise on her romps through the hotel, she's rarely there to correct negative behavior. Parents will want to remind kids why they should never wander away from a caretaker and embark on solo escapades like Eloise does.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Eloise's lifestyle compared to their own. What about her everyday routine is different from yours? What's similar? Would you want to live in a hotel? What would be the advantages and disadvantages? How is the TV series like the books? How is it different? Which do you like better? Parents may also want to reiterate the importance of not talking to strangers and always staying by an adult's side in public.
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