A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
If a positive note can be found, it's in the fact that Fred is comfortable with himself and refuses to let others' opinions of him change his self-image. Beyond that, though, the show's content isn't impressive, putting a humorous spin on damaged family relationships and chronic irresponsibility, as well as Fred's persistent outcast status. There's also some potty humor (talk of wetting pants and eating poop, for instance) and laughs at the expense of issues like bullying.
Positive Role Models
Fred's pretty much the opposite of what you hope your kids want to be like. His skewed sense of reality gets him into heaps of trouble, and he never copes with realistic repercussions. His mom isn't consistent or effective as a parent, and he's able to trick her into getting what he wants. Most of the characters -- teens and adults -- are flawed, and none evolve over the course of the show.
Violence & Scariness
Some slapstick physical humor that doesn't result in injury.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some flirting and infatuation among teens.
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No real cursing, but Fred often uses substitutes like "Oh my gammit!" and "hackin'," as in "hackin' awesome."
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Products & Purchases
Fred's face and name grace clothing and accessories now, and this show may prompt fans to check out the many YouTube videos based on the character.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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