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 animated series -- based on a series of books by the same name -- centers on biological and health topics that most adults try to avoid like, well, the plague. The two main characters use their knowledge of science to battle vile villains whose weapons include mutant lice, slime molds, and collections of the world's foulest smells. Very little is sacred in the way of body-related issues, and functions like nasal drainage, ear wax, and, yes, even poop, are thoroughly dissected within the storyline. While it's likely to send parents scattering, kids (especially boys) will be captivated, and they'll learn a lot of fun facts about science along the way.
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What's the story?
Cartoon series GROSSOLOGY doesn't focus on the "boring" aspects of science and health like photosynthesis, symbiotic relationships, or the skeletal system -- instead, it tackles oh-so-pressing questions like "Why do we produce boogers?" "Why do lice thrive on human heads?" and, of course, "What's in the gas we pass?" Based on a series of books by Sylvia Branzei, Grossology centers on special agent siblings Ty (voiced by Michael Cohen) and Abby (Krystal Meadows), who work for a secret government agency called the Bureau of Grossology. Ty and Abby face off with villains like the pimple-headed Lance Boil (Juan Chioran) and pesky Insectiva (Lili Francks), whose devious planning -- mixed with their general filth -- make them the city's vilest threats. With scientific background gleaned from their associate, Lab Rat (M. Christian Heywood), Ty and Abby piece together clues to solve the mysterious afflictions that threaten their neighbors' survival. In one episode, for example, Abby and Ty crack a case involving thieves who use soundwave emitters to induce diarrhetic urges (yep, it's really possible) and buy time for their robberies.
Is it any good?
Be forewarned that little is "too gross" for Grossology, especially when it comes to bodily functions. Characters often talk about farts, boogers, and zits; one scene shows the inside view of a colon and intestine; and various bathroom noises (use your imagination) are clearly audible. Not surprisingly, such topics offer ample breeding ground for jokes as well -- as when a character looking at a stool sample remarks that the donor "doesn't chew his food that well." You probably won't find this one nearly as entertaining as your kids will, but rest assured that, while they're laughing, they'll be learning about science ... or at least it's yuckier side.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about science. Kids, what science topics are you interested in? How do scientists use their knowledge to improve people's lives? What scientific advances do you think are important? Parents can also discuss personal health. What are some of the ways you keep your body healthy? How do diet and exercise contribute to health? Viewers who've read the books can talk about the similarities and differences between them and the series.
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