Freak Show

TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
Freak Show TV Poster Image
Pushes the limits of intentional offensiveness.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Frequent bathroom humor (the team travels to and from their headquarters via a disgusting portapotty); the freaks are looked down upon by the people in power; the characters themselves are all purposely stereotyped and exaggerated in the name of humor.

Violence

Animated fistfights and wrestling scenes, but since the freaks use their powers, they have no need for guns. In one scene, a pig is brutally and bloodily butchered.

Sex
Language

"F--k" and "s--t" are bleeped out; words like "nutsack," "pricks," "bitch," and "bastards" are said loud and clear.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the characters in this program are circus sideshow performers with special powers, many of whom sensitive audiences might find offensive. One is a premature baby with the ability to pinpoint projectile-vomit; another is a clam who uses blinding "bitch juice" to incapacitate her enemies; and so on. It's all intentionally over the top, but that doesn't mean it's always easy to watch.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byjonghyunchung April 9, 2008

Be warned

This is another adult-animated cartoon that you might want to avoid.

What's the story?

In FREAK SHOW, a band of sideshow performers with special powers leads a double life as "superheroes" who take on (extremely) low-priority missions for the Pentagon. There's Primi (voiced by show creator David Cross), a premature baby who can projectile-vomit at will; the Bearded Clam (Janeane Garofalo), who can spray "bitch juice" on her enemies; conjoined twins Tuck and Benny (H. Jon Benjamin and Cross), who can separate at will; the Log Cabin Republican (Jon Glaser), who can transform into a Burly Bear; and the World's Tallest Nebraskan (Brian Stack), who can shrink down to 6 inches tall. The motley crew's missions include covertly rolling back the mileage on the President's Trans Am (so that it can be sold at the highest possible price), reading the meter at an embassy in a dangerous, war-torn country, traveling to a remote island to secure a supply of a rare nut that the President particularly likes, and more. Once their missions are over, the team heads back to the circus, where they have to try to save the family-run business from the clutches of Freak-Mart, a corporate machine intent on getting rid of their mom-and-pop operation.

Is it any good?

While some kids might get a kick out of the show's circus scenes, the political references will be over their head. Viewers of all ages may find certain parts of the show hard to stomach (in one scene, a cartoon pig is brutally butchered, with intestines and blood everywhere), and the freaks' gross powers might make even those with the strongest tolerance for intentional offensiveness pale.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about making jokes at others' expense. When is it OK to laugh at someone (if ever), and when is it wrong? Does laughing at characters like the ones in this show reinforce the stereotypes they're based on? Why do some people make fun of people for having physical deformities or interests that fall outside the mainstream? When does a joke go too far?

TV details

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