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 Fractured Fairy Tales is a '50s- and '60s-era cartoon whose stories are creative alterations of classic fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, Pinocchio, and Sleeping Beauty. Given its retro status, there are some minor discrepancies between its content and that of the shows your kids are used to seeing, mostly in the way of exaggerated ethnic accents and the visibility of weapons like guns and swords, which aren't used. The show's stories are a fun departure from modern-day cartoons and will be most enjoyed by kids (and parents) who are familiar enough with the original fairy tales to pick up on the subtle changes as well as the obvious ones.
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What's the story?
FRACTURED FAIRY TALES is a collection of made-over classics that were a featured segment in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show in the '50s and '60s. The five-minute stories rewrite familiar fairy tales, inserting modern (at least for the time) plot twists and swapping the characters' traditional roles in hilarious ways. Here Midas' touch is less the work of magic and more the result of a good paint sprayer; Goldilocks' clumsiness wreaks havoc on everything she touches; and it's Little Red Riding Hood who disguises herself to put one over on an unsuspecting wolf.
Is it any good?
Heavy in satire and very worthy of the laughs they've garnered for more than half a decade, Fractured Fairy Tales is timeless in its entertainment value. Just about everyone has heard most of the original stories, enough to appreciate the irony in hyperactive princesses and inept witches with marginal magical talents. The intrinsic comedy in these simple changes transcends the show's age and the stories' brief running time.
Creativity aside, perhaps the best feature of the show is its delightful narrative style. Every story begins with a voice-over lead-in by Edward Everett Horton, who sets up the tale in a natural cadence that gives the impression of a grandfather reading a book to his grandkids. From there the stories come to life, with characters who are lively, comical, and always a little flawed and whose exploits often hold some little nugget of a moral that's easily deciphered by viewers of just about any age.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how these stories deviate from the original fairy tales. In what ways are the characters' actions different? How does that change the course of the story? Was the writer attempting to send a message with these new tales? If so, what was it?
How have TV shows and movies changed over the past few decades? Can you see differences between this show and those you watch today? Is there any content in Fractured Fairy Tales that wouldn't be appropriate for cartoons today?
This series is a fun way to inspire creative storytelling within your family during screen-free times. Play a narrative game or collaborate to put a new spin on an old favorite. How do our life experiences show up in the stories we tell or write? To what degree do you think that's true of the classics?
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