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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Future-Worm! is a surreal children's cartoon about a young boy, his talking super-powerful worm, and their time-traveling adventures. Violence is absurd but may still be a bit scary for young viewers: gloppy aliens invade Earth, turn Danny's parents into blank-eyed zombies, and are vanquished by cereal-shooting guns. Future-Worm and his boy Danny are best friends and very supportive of each other; Danny's parents play a part in his adventures and Danny cares about keeping their respect. Very light science lessons are sometimes related, often when Danny and Future-Worm are traveling through time and space. It's pretty quirky but a lot of fun for families who are into shows with an nutty Adventure Time-type vibe.
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What's the story?
When things go wrong for ordinary kid Danny Douglas (Andy Milonakis) and his extraordinary friend FUTURE-WORM!, the talking magical worm (James Adomian), they don't have to just put up with it -- they use Future-Worm's power to travel through time and space to go back and change things, just the way they want them. That could never have unforeseen consequences -- right? With his parents Doug (Ryan Quincy) and Megan (Melanie Lynskey) usually distracted by some silly thing or another, Danny and Future-Worm shrink themselves, climb into a magical flying lunchbox, and go hurtling into any time and place they like, in search of cooking lessons, a ready supply of sugary cereal, or other strange quests, often getting help from their fairy friend Bug.
Is it any good?
Surreal, hilarious, and sneakily sweet, this cartoon is insane enough to grab young kids yet has enough heart to make parents like it too. All the explanation you'll get for the existence of a talking worm with superpowers in this show is in the credits, when we hear that Danny Douglas's life is changed forever when he's visited by a time-traveling worm from the future -- hey! Maybe that's how he got that name. Anyway, that's the kind of dream logic you'll get here, with epic-ish quests through time and space kicked off by situations like a desire for pizza with no anchovies or a meal that will satisfy Danny's parents' desire for a romantic dinner.
Created by Emmy-winning animator and director Ryan Quincy (South Park), Future-Worm! is as pop culture-savvy and funny as you'd expect, satirizing everything from TV talk shows -- a snowman sadly wishes for a (carrot) nose job from a Dr. Phil-ish host -- to grocery stores -- Danny and Future-Worm shop for cereal at Trad'r Todd's. But Future-Worm! also has a surprising streak of sweetness, too: When Future-Worm is dragged into yet another of Danny's bizarre schemes, he says sincerely to his friend, "Because it's so important to you, it's important to me." Aww. Who knew a talking worm could give you squishy feelings?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the science of Future-Worm!. Characters often share science facts, such as when Danny's mom explains how the body makes gas. Are these scientific facts believable on a show where a talking worm and boy time-travel? How can you tell the difference between what's true and what's fantasy?
Is stereotyping a concern in this cartoon? Where do you draw the line between characterizations and stereotypes? Are stereotypes always harmful? What types of characters are usually filled by stereotypes on cartoons?
What is this show's message about family relationships? Do the nature of any of the relationships surprise you?
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