What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fred: The Show limits kids' exposure to Fred's obnoxious behavior and ridiculous antics to a 30-minute timeframe, but it does nothing to pare down the trouble spots that continue to plague the show's star. In short, there's nothing realistic about Fred, who throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way and whose whining tirades are meant for laughs rather than subjected to any kind of normal response from teens and adults alike. Expect a fair amount of stand-in cursing (like "gammit" and "hackin'") in place of their sound-alike curse words, and a severe lack of interest in his well-being from Fred's incompetent mom. The bottom line? Older tweens can reconcile the iffy behavior in this show, but you're not likely to want any of your kids acting -- or sounding -- like Fred.
What's the story?
FRED: THE SHOW chronicles the social woes and daily mishaps of Fred Figglehorn (Lucas Cruikshank), a hyperactive teen with a penchant for tantrums and a flair for the dramatic. The show is a continuation of the character created by Cruikshank and made famous in YouTube videos and two TV movies. Each 30-minute episode centers on Fred's most recent disaster at home or at school, often involving his social nemesis, Kevin (Jake Weary), or his batty mom (Siobhan Fallon Hogan). His best friend, Bertha (Daniella Monet), usually gets dragged into Fred's messes as well.
Is it any good?
Fred keeps young fans in stitches with his bizarre, off-the-wall personality and clear disregard for reality. For kids, the journey into Fred's life is a departure from their own, which, in itself, isn't a bad thing. Trouble arises when he crosses the line between silly frivolity and over-the-top obnoxious behavior, and that's just what happens from the moment Fred: The Show starts. Everything about his character will grate on parents' nerves, from his whiny voice to his extreme disrespect for his mom (and hers for him).
There's no denying that Cruikshank has talent. Anyone who can recycle the same ridiculous material into two movies and a TV show is born to be an actor. But it's shocking that a series aimed at kids would forego the chance to include at least a few positive messages in its content. Fred: The Show is the antithesis of responsible entertainment, touching on timely issues like bullying -- both in the traditional sense and the more modern cyber version -- and peer pressure, and using them as humor points rather than exploring them in a relatable sense. Pseudo-cursing, a contrived home situation, and general absurdity make this a less-than-great choice for kids' attention, not to mention the fact that the star is just plain irritating. The good news? At 30 minutes long, these episodes minimize your kids' (and your) exposure to the nonsense far better than the earlier movies did.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Fred's staying power. Why do you think this character continues to be successful? Do you find his antics funny? Do you think any of his material is harmful to kids? How did the Internet contribute to this character's success?
Kids: What messages does this show send about friendship, family relations, and responsibility? Is any aspect of Fred's life realistic? How would your friends' and family's reactions to similar behavior be different from those in Fred's life? Does he set any sort of example for kids?
What are your favorite kinds of shows? How do the characters and situations in those compare to the ones in Fred? What, if anything, have you learned from the shows you watch? Is there any content in them that you think is inappropriate for someone your age?