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 Fangbone is a cartoon about a character from another world who battles villains to protect his homeland. Though kids will probably enjoy the gross-out humor -- villains are generally green, monstrous, and dripping with saliva or mucus -- and Fangbone's violent reactions to everyday situations -- he eats the pancakes made by his friend's mom by stabbing them with his sword, shish kebab-style -- parents may not enjoy the show's big moral complication: Though we're told that Fangbone is heroic, his actions are indistinguishable from those of the "villains." So, viewers are asked to relate to a violent character who hurts others. Expect some insulting language: "You miserable dung-rats." The frequent Fangbone/villain battles generally end in the "bad guys" lying on the ground unmoving or in a pile of hacked-off limbs (no gore or blood). Female characters are very uncommon and not central to the action.
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What's the story?
When the forces of evil threaten the kingdom of Skullbania, FANGBONE is the 9-year-old who rises to the challenge. Flung from his kingdom into the wilds of Eastwood Elementary's third-grade class, Fangbone must save his homeland from the villainous clutches of his archenemy Venomous Drool. With the help of his new sidekick Bill, a typical kid with typical problems, Fangbone battles his enemies while discovering what the modern world is all about.
Is it any good?
With kid-pandering body humor and extensive and surprisingly intense violence, this cartoon is appealing to some young viewers, but parents probably won't like them watching. Fangbone is pretty much a released 9-year-old id: When adults tell him what to do or he doesn't like something, Fangbone's fairly likely to hit it with his sword. And his conflicts tend to be of the cartoonish and violent variety -- he's startled by a cuckoo clock, or the toe he cut off Venemous Drool suddenly turns into a giant pug intent on eating them. But all the sword-wielding and barbarianism is not fresh, thoughtful, or positive or even particularly funny to those over age 7 or so. Haw, haw, Fangbone hit the teacher in the behind with his sword, and because a battle with evil monsters immediately ensued, he didn't even get into trouble. Sigh. There are better cartoons out there. Find one of them to watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Does the violence in Fangbone bother you? Is it supposed to? Or is it supposed to be funny? What makes violence funny as opposed to horrifying? What is the difference between dramatic and comedic violence? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Animated series frequently show things that can't happen in real life: characters flying through space, getting terribly injured yet appearing in the next scene unharmed, and wielding magic. Why does animation lend itself to this type of far-out situation?
Families can talk about what defines a hero. Describe someone who is heroic. How do they treat others? Would Fangbone be a hero in real life?
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