Growing Up Creepie
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animated show focuses on preteen social development from the perspective of a kid who feels and looks different than her peers (not surprising, since she's been raised by bugs). With its shades of purple and black and its sharp edges, the animation style is reminiscent of a Tim Burton film. When combined with dramatic music (including some specific tunes from horror films like Psycho), these visuals may frighten preschoolers and younger grade-schoolers. Real information about bugs is mixed in with the show's other content, but the animated insect characters also talk, crack jokes, and live as a loving family. Older kids and young tweens who aren't frightened by the show's dark visuals and talk of bugs "draining the life from victims" will get a kick out of the bug family and appreciate Creepie's struggles to fit in with her peers.
What's the story?
No one can escape the challenges of being a tween -- including Creepie Creecher. Left on the doorstep of Dweezold Mansion as a baby, Creepie (voiced by Athena Karkanis) is raised by a praying mantis mother and vegan mosquito father and has so many brothers and sisters that they just appear as a fuzzy, buzzy swarm. Creepie starts middle school feeling different than the other kids, but also surprisingly OK with who she is and is able to make friends. Two of Creepie's brothers stand out from the swarm: a gnat and a pill bug who follow Creepie around and get into mischief. Her human friends include popular girl Chris-Alice Hollyruller (Leah Cudmore), whose father is the town exterminator and causes much conflict. Creepie also has a crush on Tarantula Boy, a freak side-show at the local carnival.
Is it any good?
GROWING UP CREEPIE has lots of dark, Tim Burton-esque visuals and scary organ tunes, but older grade-schoolers and tweens will recognize that both are used for dramatic effect and will be able to focus on Creepie's day-to-day challenges. In one episode, Creepie recites a Mother's Day poem about "crunching limbs" and "leaving victims helpless." Her classmates and teacher are horrified, but Creepie's mother, a sultry praying mantis named Caroleena (Julie Lemieux), explains to the principal that she's a strong female role model who speaks her mind and stops at nothing to support her family -- and it is a loving family. Creepie's dad, a pale, vampire-looking mosquito, is actually vegan -- because, of course, male mosquitoes don't drink blood. He's also very playful and affectionate with the thousands of "adopted" bug children who live in the mansion.
You won't find any fighting scenes (unlike fellow bug-themed cartoon Spider Riders) or constant flirtations (a la 6Teen) here -- just a girl making it through the ups and downs of adolescence, which is something kid viewers can definitely take a bite out of. And for kids interested in insects, the show even includes a 5-second bit of information about specific bug characters in each 15-minute segment.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the challenges of being the new kid in school and strategies for making friends. How can kids make an effort to help others feel welcome to a new school or neighborhood?
What challenges does Creepie face since she looks and feels so different from her peers? How is she similar to other kids, and how do her differences make her unique and special?
Why is it important not to judge someone based on how they look? What should you base your impressions of people on?
If kids are interested in entomology, parents can help them look up more information about the bugs on the show.