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 this flashy, rapid-scene-changing cartoon isn't the best fit for very young children, who may be disoriented by the swiftly moving backgrounds and won't be able to follow the story. The show also includes plenty of consequence-free cartoon violence (clubbing, fighting) and gross-out potty humor on a junior level -- nose picking, butt slapping, toe licking (of George's own toes; it's silly, not sexual) -- without much in the way of redeeming qualities or positive lessons.
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What's the story?
GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE is nominally a remake of the classic cartoon series that ran briefly in the late '60s -- but other than the title and the hero's habit of referring to himself in the third person, it has little in common with its predecessor. This new George (voiced by Lee Tockar) has no Tarzan-like backstory, there are plenty of other humans in the jungle (mostly "jungle girls"), and other than in the opening credits, he never runs into a tree while swinging on his vine.
Is it any good?
George of the Jungle is set in a jungle whose inhabitants inexplicably include rabbits and pandas, as well as every "normal" jungle species. Given that they all talk, it's hard to see why the pandas should be so hard to swallow -- but somehow they're representative of the show's thrown-together approach to plot and humor. Even a mildly funny set-up -- George convinces the predators to eat vegetables while the jungle girls teach the smaller animals to be more assertive -- dissolves into a feeble pay-off, paying lip service to the need to restore the natural order but never managing to either do so or to be funny about it.
The primary trouble with George is that it's neither fish nor fowl -- it's meant for families to watch together, but it's too complicated for younger viewers and has little to offer parents. It's a hard balance to strike, and George has missed it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why TV networks would want to remake classic cartoons. Is there an advantage to updating an old title over taking a chance on something new? If so, what? Kids: If you've seen the old George of the Jungle cartoons, too, which do you like better -- and why?
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